Interview with Gacharic Spin

interview - 08.20.2015 20:01

Gacharic Spin speaks to JaME in a detailed interview after their J-POP SUMMIT gig in San Francisco.

In light of their recent "Dragon Ball Kai" anime series tie-in, all-female rock band Gacharic Spin has seen a surge in popularity overseas. Just a couple of weeks ago, the ladies drew in a large crowd for their first-ever West Coast US live show at the 2015 J-POP SUMMIT in San Francisco. Post-gig, Gacharic Spin indulges JaME in a detailed and insightful interview about their 2015 J-POP SUMMIT experience, upcoming album, new dancer and learning to take efficient breaks.

With your recent "Dragon Ball Kai" series tie-in, more people overseas have gotten to know you. What are your thoughts on your expanding overseas fanbase?

Hana: We are very happy to see our fanbase growing outside of Japan.

F Chopper KOGA (KOGA): After the news of us doing the “Dragon Ball Kai” theme song went out, we received many messages from fans living outside of Japan and they congratulated us. By doing the theme song for a popular TV animation series, we really felt that our music would be heard by many people overseas, so we are really happy about that.

You held your first-ever West Coast US live show at the 2015 J-POP SUMMIT in San Francisco on August 8th. What are your best memories of the concert?

Hana: Oreoreona’s MCing was impressive – I think her MCing in English did reach the audience very well and even when she forgot things to say, she expressed it using body gestures and I think that too reached the audience because she really tried to connect.

KOGA: We saw one fan from overseas, who was in the front row, and he was actually singing all the songs we performed, in Japanese! I saw him at the signing session and found out that he doesn’t speak Japanese – so I was quite touched because that means he listened to our songs so many times to memorize the lyrics. He was enjoying the show together with our Japanese fans by joining shoulders, and I was delighted to see that as well.

Mai: Out of all the shows we did overseas, I think we had more people raising their hands at the J-POP SUMMIT. From the start we felt that the people were having fun, but at the end everyone raised their hands and danced with us, so I could really feel that we had a connection with the audience.

KOGA: We also were happy to do an encore – since this is a festival and there are other artists scheduled to perform after us, we knew we won’t be able to do it but the audience asked and we were really happy to be able to play one more song.

TOMO-ZO: I was a bit nervous before the show, worrying a little about whether people would show up or not, but during the sound check, we saw lots of people coming in and we heard shout-outs from the audience even at the sound check, so I could feel that we were very welcomed, and that made me feel that it was really worth to come here to play.

What can we expect from your upcoming album?

KOGA: This would be an album with a new member Nenne, so it features a new structure of the band and I believe we would be able to feature more evolved songs and dance formations, compared to our previous albums.

Hana: We do have quite a lot of aggressive songs so far but I think we have a bit more of aggressiveness in the new album. Since our music consists of variety of music styles, that doesn’t change, but we might have pushed the aggressive side of our music a bit.

KOGA: The music video of a song from the new album Music Battler, which is also the title of the album, is quite extreme, so I hope you can check it when it comes out.

You're celebrating your sixth anniversary this year. Any special plans to celebrate the occasion?

KOGA: Our next tour, which is also the album release tour, is titled as our sixth anniversary tour.

How have you grown both individually and as a band during the five years?

KOGA: It has been quite intense the last five years from both physically and mentally, so I think we’ve learned to take a “so-what” attitude. Kind of like “we may not make it on time, but anyway, let’s try to do the things we can to move forward for the time being”.

TOMO-ZO: Before we would be thrown into a panic but now we learned that we shouldn’t waste time panicking, so whatever the situation is, we learned to make things move forward.

Hana: We learned to take breaks efficiently (laughs).

KOGA: Since we always try to play at our full strength, we used to strain our bodies sometimes, but we learned to take breaks, so that we can perform to the best of our ability. Before we used to do so many rehearsals but when we feel that we won’t be able to play to the fullest at the show by doing a rehearsal the day before, we would decide not to do the rehearsal.

After your Japan tour in 2012, you gave up having a conventional frontwoman. Why did you decide not to recruit a new singer?

Hana: We actually were looking for a singer, but even when we haven’t found a singer, our French tour was confirmed, and they wanted us to come even without the singer. We discussed and decided to do the things we can do ourselves, and since Oreoreona and I used to be vocalists, we decided to do the vocals and went to France. During the tour, I think we were able to build a foundation that this concept would work, but since we play drums and keyboards, there would be no one in front of the stage to heat up the fans, so that is why we decided to feature performers.

You signed with Victor Entertainment in late 2014. How has the transition from being indies to major been like?

KOGA: Since we were playing gigs in live venues, that was the main places to expose ourselves, but now I feel that we are exposing ourselves more to new audiences, through more radio/TV/magazine appearances. But I don’t think we ourselves have changed by joining a major record label.

Hana: It would be a bit strange to work more because we’ve joined a major label, because that could mean you work less while you are in the indies. But KOGA-san mentioned before that the world of major labels is much more intense as there are many artists who are doing great, so we have to think very hard to expose ourselves more, even in the major label scenes.

Hana, you've played many different instruments throughout your career. How many instruments can you play? How did you settle on drums?

Hana: I haven’t counted them properly but when I was counting with KOGA we had 10, but that includes a recorder (laughs). The way I settled with the drums is when KOGA asked me to form a band together, she wanted to see me playing drums, so I actually started my career as a drummer through this band. But I still play the guitar, bass and other instruments, especially when I am working on the arrangement of the song, but drums are the instrument that I would be able to play in front of the audience.

What are the instruments you can play?

Hana: I play the drums, bass, guitar, a little bit of double bass, piano, recorder, blues harp but not much, and what else … I used to learn the koto when I was in elementary school.

Mai, you recently sang lead vocals with Arisa on the single Tokenai Candy. Was this your first time singing for Gacharic Spin? How did you feel while recording the song and shooting the video?

Mai: I’ve done backing vocals before but yes, this was my first time being the vocalist. I always wanted to become an artist who can sing and dance, but I wasn’t sure if I am prepared at that time, so I was very worried and practiced in a karaoke box for seven hours straight, for a week (laughs). There are staff who supported me through the recording session and members of Metallic Spin helped me in the music video.

Hana: I was at the recording session as well and even when she was practicing, she sent me audio samples of her practice takes and I gave her advice. She was trying so hard and it was the recording session which started her career as a Gacha Gacha Dancer, so she worked hard and I could clearly see the development in her.

Nenne, you recently joined the band as the new Gacha Gacha Dancer. How did the opportunity to join the band come about? How do you feel now that you're a member?

Nenne: Mai was the upperclass student in my high school, so I got to know her and that let me to join the group.

KOGA: She used to come to the shows and liked the band a lot, and we had many ideas like increasing the number of dancers, and Arisa decided to leave the group and Nenne was there at that timing. She had very little time to prepare to perform on stage with us, so I am sure she was under lots of pressure at that time.

Hana: She is a super hard-working girl. Mai is also focused on working hard, so that led to them preparing quickly for upcoming shows.

Nenne: Everyone in this group is hardworking and by seeing them making effort I get inspired to work harder. As a member of the band, I will continue working hard to get the band accepted by audiences worldwide!

Besides music, what hobbies do you have?

Gacharic Spin: Hmmm …

KOGA: Walking the dog (laughs).
Oreoreona: Watching TV animations.
Hana: Watching birds (laughs).
TOMO-ZO: Playing games maybe?
Nenne: I watch movies.
Mai: Weight training (laughs).

What are your goals as a band?

KOGA: We don’t have specific goals, but maybe when we are all grandmothers and our grandchildren or children know the songs or the name of the band, we may feel it was worth doing the band. But basically, I don’t think we have a specific goal.

Please leave a message for JaME readers.

KOGA: Oreoreona has only said a few words so I would want her to take the last part (laughs).

Oreoreona: (laughs) I would want the people all over the world to know that there is such an entertaining band in Japan, and we would love to come over to wherever you are, so we hope you can check our music! We hope to visit your city someday to play our new album in the near future!

JaME would like to thank MediaLab PR and Gacharic Spin for making this interview possible.

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