Kyary Pamyu Pamyu: Interviewed!

When we had the opportunity to interview our most favourite person in the whole universe, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (full name: Caroline Charonplop Kyary Pamyu Pamyu), we obviously said a big ‘YES!’ and danced around like a happy, grinning prat for days on end. The interview was originally printed in NEO Magazine #91 as part of a feature showcasing the candy-loving Jpop star, before she became famous in Japan.

Currently, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s debut mini album ‘Moshi Moshi Harajuku‘ is out now, along with her singles ‘Pon Pon Pon‘, ‘Jelly‘, ‘Tsukemetsukeru‘ and ‘Candy Candy‘ from the iTunes UK store.

We love your music videos! Who comes up with the ideas behind your PVs?

Kyary says:
I have a lot of discussions with the video’s director and we come up with an idea from there.

Can you tell us about working with Sebastian Masuda from 6% DOKIDOKI?

Kyary says:
It was lots of fun working together and I got lots of inspiration through talking with him.
.

In the video to ‘Pon Pon Pon’ you ride a unicycle – did you learn how to ride it especially for this video?

Kyary says:
I’ve loved riding unicycles since I was in elementary school. I taught myself how to ride it with my friends. It was fun to do it for this video as I haven’t done it for a long time!

Are the outfits in your videos designed by you? If not, which designers or brands are involved?

Kyary says:
I draw the design blue prints and then we create the outfits from there with my stylist.
.

Who are your favourite designers, brands and fashion icons?

Kyary says:
I love the designer Yoshie Itabashi! As for brand, I like Candy Stripper and I think Katy Perry is a fantastic fashion icon.

You’re still so young! What was school life like for you? Were you a typical good student? What were your favourite subjects?

Kyary says:
I was a typical, simple high school student.
I always abide school rules and I enjoyed Art the most.

How did your path cross with Yasutaka Nakata?

Kyary says:
I was DJing at a club event for teenagers that was hosted by Mr.Yasutaka Tanaka.  We were just talking about doing fun things and it was so natural to get together and create something fun together.

Were you nervous to work with such a well-known producer?

Kyary says:
Actually… at first, I thought someone was trying to trick me!
I was very surprised.

At Japan Underground, girls often request ‘Pon Pon Pon’, and they know all the dance moves! Can you tell us about the meaning behind this songs?

Kyary says:
I’m so glad girls are copying my dance moves over there!!
This song’s message is to be positive and keep moving on!

Can you tell us about why you chose ‘Moshi Moshi Harajuku’ for the title of your debut mini-album?

Kyary says:
Harajuku is the place that gave me an opportunity to be a model – it’s also a place I love. So I included Harajuku. At the time we were going to release the album digitally in 23 different countries, so we wanted to include Japanese words which everyone knows, like “Konnichiwa” and “Moshi Moshi”.  That’s how we, Yasutaka Tanaka and I, came up with the name.

How would you describe yourself? Already the media is comparing you to Japan’s answer to Lady GaGa. What do you think of this comparison?

Kyary says:
I personally like Lady GaGa so I am delighted that people have been comparing me to her.  But, I believe she is unique, nobody can compare to her.

It’s unusual to see girls with their finger in their nose, or making silly faces – do you sometimes wish you were a boy?

Kyary says:
No way!! I want to re-born as a girl again if I have a choice!
But, maybe it’s easier when washing hair as a boy!

Do you think we’ll ever see you in London?

Kyary says:
No plan yet!!
But I really want to come!!!

What advice would you give to girls who want to be famous like you?

Kyary says:
Hmmm.. maybe you’ll have a chance if you dress up nicely and cutely in Harajuku?
It worked for me.

Do you have any final messages for British fans?

Kyary says:
I would really love to come to UK to have live show!  And…
… I really love Harry Potter!

Advertisements

SHINee: The London 2011 Interview

SHINee: (l-r) Taemin, Jonghyun, Minho, Key and Onew

When tickets went on sale for SHINee‘s first UK performance, at the Odeon in Leicester Square for the London Korean Film Festival 2011, servers were unable to keep up with demand and the website for the venue, one of London’s premier spots, crashed in seconds and remained down for a further five hours. Fans had already been going crazy since the boys touched down at Heathrow airport, where they were mobbed by over excited fans. Were SHINee upset about the whole experience? We managed to get some time with the group, away from the sea of crazed fangirls and found out how they found their experiences in London, what they think about K-pop taking over the world, and their taste in women. Enjoy, share and link back to our site.

This interview has since been translated by fans into Japanese and can be read here.(←日本語)

Parts of this interview, with additional quotes from the band and live photography from the London show will be printed in NEO Magazine, issue 94 – out 26 January across the UK.

Welcome back to the UK! We heard there was an incident with fans at Heathrow when you arrived. Does this kind of thing happen to you a lot? What is the craziest thing fans have done to you?

Onew says:
Sometimes when there are many fans who are cheering, it happens to be crowded when fans are coming in all at once. But I am always appreciated with it.
Thank you for cheering us up, but I am worried that they might get hurt.

Jonghyun says:
I think the airport is the first place where we can meet the fans of the country we visit, that’s why the fans are more enthusiastically cheering us up. It is pleasant because we are also pleased to meet them.

Minho says:
As soon as we arrived at Heathrow airport, we were very pleased and surprised to see that many fans were enthusiastically welcoming us. I am very appreciated with that many fans welcome us from the airport whenever we go abroad for the concert. Since the fans welcome us from the moment we arrive in the new place, it raises us up.

Key says:
I am very happy that fans enthusiastically greet us. I think it is because the airport is where we can face with the fans of the country for the first time.

Taemin says:
It was memorable to see the fans are enthusiastically cheering with holding Korean placards.

Please introduce yourself, and tells us a fun fact about another member of the group.

Onew says:
This is Onew.
I like fun things and I always like to sing merrily.

Jonghyun says:
This is Jonghyun.
To tell you about the members, Minho is very competitive and Onew is such a sleepyhead.

Minho says:
This is Minho. It’s great to meet the UK fans. I hope to see you very often.
I like sports, including football. I tend to be very competitive as Jonghyun said.

Key says:
This is Key.
I am a kind of person who has various colours.

Taemin says:
This is Taemin.
It is great to meet the UK fans.

Please teach us an interested fact about Korea as well as a Korean phrase!

Onew says:
Korea boasts the fastest internet speed!
And here’s a Korean phrase for you; the little pepper is always the spiciest!

 Jonghyun says:
Korean people are kind!!!
.

Minho says:
Please visit Korea!
.

Key says:
Although Korea is small country…
it is very strong!

Taemin says:
There are many things to play with in Korea!
And here’s a korean phrase; a Spider that casts a web eventually traps a fly.

K-pop has become really popular recently, why do you think Korean music has suddenly began to put South Korea on the map?

Onew says:
As the internet develops…
…there are more opportunities for people to experience K-pop artists.

Minho says:
Yes, like Onew said, the internet is why Korean music is becoming more popular.
.

Jonghyun says:
Definitely the development of the internet.
Also performing live in other countries has also helped boost K-pop.

Taemin says:
All these things!
They’ve created great opportunities for people to experience other cultures and music.

Is SHINee influenced from any previous Korean artists? If so, who?

Onew says:
All the seniors from our management company SM Entertainment. They opened the doors of opportunity for us. Because of them we are able to appear on the global stage, beyond Asia. And we were also able to meet fans in London.

Jonghyun says:
I was influenced by many seniors.
Personally, WHEESUNG and Naul.

Key says:
Yes, it’s gotta be our seniors from SM Entertainment, our management company.
.

Tell us about “SHINee Trend”! What brands are involved to make the SHINee look?

Onew says:
I think the current trend is important, but it is more important to have an eye and the sense to look ahead.

Jonghyun says:
Finding something that brings out the strength of your body is important.
.

Minho says:
I believe that it is important to find own charms and strength that can be attracted.
.

Key says:
It is essential to find style that matches to you.
.

What fashion advice can you give to wannabe fashionistas?

Onew says:
I think it is better to wear something that can show one’s charms rather than just following trends.
.

Key says:
Find your own personality!
.

How did it feel to be the first Kpop artist to perform at the Abbey Roads Studio?

Onew says:
I feel like dreams come true that nobody expected us to have. I was very thankful and happy.

Jonghyun says:
We will reward you with better performance.
Thank you!

Minho says:
I was very thrilled and happy. I will keep trying my best to become a singer who let other people know about SHINee and Korea.

Taemin says:
It was great honor, and I feel like it wasn’t true.
Thank you!

Which other famous places would you love to play around the world?

Onew says:
There is no specific place, but I’d like to perform at the various stages around the world. Regardless of the size and the region, wherever we can sing our songs, I will be happy to sing.

Jonghyun says:
Name of the stage and the size are not matter.
Anywhere in the world is fine.

Minho says:
I also think that there is no specific place, but like to perform in various regions. Anywhere in the world, if there are fans who like SHINee, I’d like to perform on the stage.

Key says:
If it is where we can go, we’d like to go anywhere.
.

Could you speak Japanese before you joined SHINee? Have you found any fun ways to learn? For example, do you listen to Jpop to help you learn Japanese? (If so, who are your favourite artists to learn Japanese from)

Onew says:
I could not speak Japanese at all before I joined SHINee.
However, I used to listen to J-pop when I was young.

Jonghyun says:
I couldn’t speak Japanese…
But there’s a lot I could learn from animation and cultural experiences.

 Minho says:
I started learning Japanese as we prepared for entering Japan. I learned many things while I was talking with Japanese staffs in Japan.

Key says:
I like to watch Japanese dramas and listen to Japanese music and it was very helpful for me to learn Japanese.

Taemin says:
I started learning Japanese by watching Japanese movies or animations as we prepared for our activity in Japan.

You recorded the reality TV show Shinee’s YunHaNam, where you dated older women. What is your ideal type of lady?

Onew says:
There’s nothing special – I just like someone who likes me.
.

Jonghyun says:
I think it is bit changing.
But I like someone feminine who sometimes pretends to be naive and has little jealously.

Minho says:
I don’t have a specific type…
…but I like someone feminine.

Key says:
Kaya Scodelario.
[Does that mean Key’s a Skins fan?! – Tom]

Taemin says:
Emma Watson.
[think it’s official, SHINee like British girls ;) – Tom]

It’s nearly 2012, do you have any new year resolutions?

Onew says:
SHINee’s new album will be released in 2012.
We will show our new side and new music.

Jonghyun says:
Let’s try to be easy.
[speak for yourself, mister… – Tom]

Minho says:
We will try harder in 2012.
.

Key says:
Let’s enjoy!
.

Taemin says:
To respect myself and be responsible.
.

What plans do you have for 2012?

Onew says:
Please look forward to our new music and performance!
.

Jonghyun says:
As a team, we would like to have a wide sphere of activity with the whole world as our stage and I personally wish that participation in terms of music is higher.

Key says:
I believe that we are able to show you to perform with the new music and on the stage as well as in various fields. Please give us your anticipation.

Taemin says:
I would like to present our music and performance to many people.
.

Do you think we’ll see a proper SHINee concert in London any time soon?

Onew says:
If we are given a chance…
…we will be able to hold a concert.

Jonghyun says:
If there’s a chance, I think it would be a joyful concert where we can enjoy the show with fans.

Minho says:
If we are given a good chance, the time will come when we will hold our concert in London. Please give your love to us till then.

Key says:
I believe that we will be able to perform in London some day.
.

Do you have any final messages for UK readers?

Onew says:
Thank you for surprising us with many things and making us feel happy.
We would like to come more often in the future.

Jonghyun says:
Please give your interest in SHINee and enjoy our music.
Thank you!

Minho says:
Thank you for always supporting us.
We will do our best to meet you as often as possible.

Taemin says:
I really appreciate all of your support.
Please continuously love SHINee.

Key says:
Thank you for welcoming and loving us.
SHINee will try our best!

Kanon x Kanon: The Euro 2011 Tour Finale Interview

On Friday 18 November 2011, visual duo Kanon x Kanon (pronounced ‘Kanon Kanon’) concluded their debut European tour with a performance at the O2 Bar Academy in Islington, London. The pair had been to Europe and the UK previously, but with their respective other projects; gothic Lolita cello-vocalist Kanon Wakeshima had performed a charity performance at Hyper Japan in London, while Kanon, the male bass-player of the popular oshare kei group An Cafe had been to Europe and the UK on several occasions with the band.

We caught up with the twosome in London for a chat about miracles, double decker buses,  and their plans for 2012… and is that a hint from Kanon that An Cafe will be back next year? Read on and find out.

In the meantime, Kanon x Kanon’s digital EPs are available now in the UK, more information on these is available on our site by clicking here.

For live photos from Kanon x Kanon’s London live performance, check out JPU buddy Kevin Gilvear’s gallery of the evening by clicking here, and also by viewing our slideshow at the end of this interview.

You’ve both played and visited Great Britain before, please tell us about your impressions of it.

Kanon says:
“I love the buildings and architecture here, they’re so cute! I could walk around British towns all day long and never be bored.”

Kanon says:
“Double decker buses!
They are cool.”

What can we expect in 2012 from Kanon x Kanon?

Kanon says:
“We want to visit more places and maybe release some new songs, but we’re doing things at our own tempo.”

After touring with the all-boy company of An Cafe, how do you find touring with a girl?

Kanon says:
“Aaaaaaah…. touring with the An Cafe guys is great!
I miss touring with the boys…”

And how’s life on tour with a boy for you, Ms. Wakeshima?

Kanon says:
“Yes.
It’s ok. :)”

The internet has been rife with rumours that An Cafe will be back in the summer of 2012, are these rumours true?

Kanon says:
“An Cafe is still on hiatus…
But there’s always a chance that we’ll get back together.”

And what are your plans for your solo career, Kanon Wakeshima?

Kanon says:
“I’ve been conducting my solo shows in Japan for the past few months. They’ll run for four consecutive months in total, and the final date of the tour will happen when I return to Japan. The tour is produced entirely by myself and the songs I play are my new songs, which I also produced. I’m hoping that these songs will go towards my next album.”

Tonight is the final date of your Kanon x Kanon x Kanon Euro Tour 2011, what have been the highlights?

Kanon says:
“I had some technical problems with my DJ set in Moscow. It was the first date of the tour and I was worried I’d have problems for all the dates. But now the tour is over I feel relieved that there wasn’t any major problems.”

Kanon says:
“For me, the biggest highlight was visiting new countries for the first time and having the people welcome us with so much energy. Their energy gives me the power to continue. Thank you all so much.”

On this tour, Kanon Wakeshima allowed fans to request anime themes for her to cover. Did some of their choices surprise you?

Kanon says:
“Yes! Pandora Hearts! I’m surprised people outside of Japan know this anime, it’s kind of niche in Japan. So I was wondering how they know it.”

Kanon says:
“‘Moonlight Densetsu‘ from Sailor Moon! There were so many requests for this song. I was also surprised, like Kanon, at how European people watch and learn about anime. There was lots of requests from K-On!, it made me think ‘hmm, is K-On! popular in Europe?'”

Were there any anime songs that Kanon secretly requested for Kanon Wakeshima to play?

Kanon says:
“Yes! You can guess my request, you saw it when you arrived.” [when I got to the venue, I caught Kanon playing around with Miku Hatsune stuff – Tom]

Which Japanese artists do you think we should keep an eye on in 2012?

Kanon says:
Tom H@ck! He worked on a lot of the music from K-On! and these songs have become so popular in Japan. He’s a great musician and a great guitarist. I think 2012 will be a big year for him.” [He also works heavily with the visual kei group SuG – Tom]

Kanon says:
“Hmm, I’m not really into current pop music so I’m not sure… but idol groups have become popular again, so maybe they will continue to be strong next year.”

It’s almost the end of the year, do you have any new year resolutions for 2012? And did you achieve your  resolution for this year?

Kanon says:
“Yes, I accomplished this year’s resolution. And next year I will be very busy, so my resolution is to work hard.”

Kanon says:
“I can’t remember my resolution from last year…
But for 2012 I want to make miracles!”

Do you have any final messages for fans in the UK?

Kanon says:
“As always, thank you for your support UK! I will try my best, both in Kanon x Kanon and in An Cafe, if we decide to start again. Eitherway, please support me.”

Kanon says:
“Tom, thank you for always supporting me. And thank you to the people of Great Britain too, of course. I’m thinking of creating some new and exciting for next year, so I hope people will enjoy it.”

Here are some images of Kanon x Kanon’s London show, courtesy of Kevin Gilvear.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

L’Arc en Ciel: The World Tour 2012 Interview

L'Arc en Ciel: yukihiro, tetsuya, hyde and ken (l-r)

With tickets for L’Arc en Ciel‘s first London show going on sale from 9am today (click here to purchase yours), we were lucky enough to get some time with the group’s iconic vocalist hyde, as well as its leader and bass-player tetsuya (both names intentionally stylised in lowercase), for a chat about their 20 years in rock, their upcoming world tour, and good old England ahead of their first ever UK performance, taking place at indig02 on 11 April 2012.

This interview has since been translated by fans into Japanese and can be read here. (←日本語)

Thank you for including England on this tour! Do you still get nervous when you play in a new country?

hyde says:
“The shows are really exciting when it’s our first time playing there, so I’m looking forward to it. England is especially one of the roots of our sound, so I can’t wait to play there.”

tetsuya says:
“More than ‘nervous’.
I’d say I’m really excited to be able to see our fans.”

Our readers will kill us if we don’t ask this question: Have you visited England before? Will you get any time off to sightsee and be a tourist? Where would you like to go, see or experience in London?

hyde says:
“All of my solo album ROENTGEN was recorded there so I stay there often. I went to Stonehenge and Brighton beach. At the time go-karts were really in so I did that a lot, and I went to Chinatown often and got to know the restaurant workers pretty well. The towns are beautiful so I want to take walks through them again.”

tetsuya says:
“I’ve been to London three times, but the last time was over ten years ago, so I want to see how it’s changed.”

We understand you’ll be the first Japanese artist to perform at Madison Square Gardens – congratulations! When you first started, did you ever imagine you’d play such a prestigious American venue?

hyde says:
“If we hadn’t been successful in Japan first, this would have been unimaginable. If L’Arc en Ciel is going to play overseas, we want to play in as larger venue as possible.”

tetsuya says:
“Well I guess we are the first Japanese only in terms of a ‘solo’ show. I remember how excited I was when Loudness opened for Motley Crue at MSG, when I was in middle school. It’s a real honor to be able to get up there on the same stage.”

Where would you like to be the first Japanese artist to perform in London? On top of Buckingham Palace? On the Abbey Road zebra crossing? A guerrilla live in Camden Town?

hyde says:
“Those all sound great. :)
Okay, how about the London Dungeon?”

tetsuya says:
“The Royal…
Albert Hall!”

You recently celebrated your 20th anniversary – that’s older than a large proportion of our readers! What’s your secret to such a long and respectable career?

hyde says:
“A generous heart.
It’s important.”

tetsuya says:
“A little bit of talent.
And hard work and luck.”

You have a number of side projects, some involving exactly the same members of L’Arc en Ciel – do you feel that being able to express different sides of your personalities in such a way has helped you remain as a unit for so long? And which side do you think represents you best?

tetsuya says:
“For me it’s fun because I get discover all kinds of new perspectives that I wouldn’t have noticed on my own. Also there’s a world view I can only express through my solo work as TETSUYA, and I want to spread that message.”

Despite there being many L’Arc en Ciel fans in the UK, your band is still very underground – even amongst rock fans. So, how would you introduce L’Arc en Ciel to people who haven’t heard of you before? How would you describe L’Arc en Ciel’s style?

hyde says:
“We are a band that is ‘too’ free.
We use all kinds of genres without being bound to one.”

tetsuya says:
“Japanese Rock Band”
.

If you could sum up the last 20 years of your career with a single word (English or Japanese), which word would you use? And please could you explain why this word is appropriate?

tetsuya says:
“‘Roller Coaster’.
The reason is just what it sounds like!”

Which songs did you especially request to be included and why?

hyde says:
“It’s not decided yet.
What songs would the fans from England like to hear?”

When planning the world tour, what were some of the ideas and thoughts that went through your mind? What was crucial to be included?

hyde says:
“I wanted to make it the biggest world tour ever put on by a Japanese group.”
.

tetsuya says:
“I’d be happy if we can recreate as best as possible the shows that we usually put on in Japan.”

Your single X X X is released now in the UK. What’s the most X X X thing you’ve ever done? Is L’Arc en Ciel a typical X X X style rock band?

tetsuya says:
“Really? It’s been released?
I never knew!”

Your 20th L’Anniversary Concert was simply awe-inspiring, and we understand all proceeds were given to charity too. Amazing. Can you please tell us in your own words how it felt to (a) be celebrating your 20th anniversary in such a way and (b) to help your country in the process?

hyde says:
“I think one good thing about Japanese people is that they care for their neighbours. It looks like L’Arc en Ciel has a conscience after all!”

tetsuya says:
“I felt like…
we were being tested.”

Do you have (a) any words of advice to musicians who aspire to be as big as L’Arc en Ciel? And (b) and final comments you’d like to leave with our readers in the UK?

hyde says:
“To continue is a powerful thing. If we had split up we would never have been able to come to England. We want to put on a show that will be remembered. I’m already looking forward to it!”

And so are we, hyde. So are we!

Related Stories:
L’Arc en Ciel’s 20th L’Anniversary Screening

%d bloggers like this: