Interview with Bishi-Bishi

interview - 09.09.2011 10:01

Xavier Norindr, president of music label Bishi-Bishi, gives an insight to the label and shares about its activities in the past year as well as upcoming plans.

Founded in October 2010, Bishi-Bishi is a French music label that has worked with bands such as Aural Vampire, YMCK, TRILL-DAN and 8otto. Early this summer, the label took home the Japan Expo Award for Best J-music Band or Artist thanks to Aural Vampire, which made JaME look back on the event and find out what the young record label was up to. Despite a busy schedule, Xavier Norindr, head of Bishi-Bishi, took the time to sit down with us and answer our questions.


The Label

Bishi-Bishi will soon celebrate its first anniversary, right? Can you give us details about its creation?

Xavier Norindr: Bishi-Bishi will indeed celebrate its first anniversary in October. Time flies… Bishi-Bishi was born after my meeting with the president of the French company Ankama Music. In 2010, Ankama Music was expanding its musical diversity and wanted to create a new label dedicated to gaming and Japanese pop culture. After many discussions, we decided to launch an Asian music label.

People are talking about a crisis in the CD industry. Isn’t it a little risky to venture into such a project?

Xavier Norindr: At its core, a label’s job is to promote an artist’s album. Today, the notion of a label has evolved since many take care of live shows, distribution, management… There is indeed a CD crisis, though. I can confirm that, these days, no society can make a profit from simply selling CDs. It’s impossible. Bishi-Bishi has therefore not based its economic model on CD sales. We have many projects, which allows us to feel optimistic about the label’s future.

Overall, how was the first year?

Xavier Norindr: We accomplished our primary objective, which was to acquire content, create distribution networks, and to make our target audience aware of the label’s existence.

The Japan Expo Awards

How did you react to the results of the Japan Expo Awards?

Xavier Norindr: I was thrilled. Surprised, even, seeing as the other groups in the competition had a stronger fan base than Aural Vampire in France.

Many fans criticize the fact that voting choices were limited to whichever European labels were signed up. What do you have to say about that?

Xavier Norindr: It’s normal they reacted that way, seeing as they don’t know what happens behind the scenes at the Japan Expo Awards. There are many conditions that need to be met for an artist to be represented there. You could say the awards are dedicated to J-music artists who are published in Europe. That’s why choices seem 'limited'.

Aural Vampire

How did the band react to the win?

Xavier Norindr: They were also thrilled and surprised. They instantly fed the news to their fans through social networking. It’s a shame they couldn’t be there to accept the award, though.

Will they return to France and Europe soon?

Xavier Norindr: There is nothing confirmed right now, but there are good chances.

How do you work on developing a group as atypical as Aural Vampire in France and Europe?

Xavier Norindr: Bishi-Bishi is simply supporting the development of Aural Vampire in France and Europe. avex is managing their career and decides their international strategy. Our job was to release the ZOLTANK album and promote it and the artist.

Bishi-Bishi’s Development

Wha is your digital distribution strategy?

Xavier Norindr: We’re focusing strongly on digital distribution for Europe. We’re currently in the middle of acquiring content and setting up distribution deals. We signed our first deal with BounDEE.

Can you detail the new partnership? How is it going to work? Which artists will benefit from this?

Xavier Norindr: We have a distribution deal with BounDEE, as well as a promotional deal for certain artists throughout the European continent. We started with the latest release of 8otto at the end of July, and our goal is to have five releases per week before the year is up. The artists will be available exclusively through our online shop. BounDEE is tasked with getting other indie J-music bands to release their material via Bishi-Bishi.

So can we expect to see CDs in the future ?

Xavier Norindr: There will always be a market for CDs. Some people prefer having a physical object. We will not stop selling them.

Bishi-Bishi and Asia

Some say it is difficult to work with Japanese companies. Have your experiences led you to agree?

Xavier Norindr: It is indeed difficult, but we get through it. The relationship with the artists is usually great, it’s more their management that is difficult. We have to remember, however, that it’s their job to be demanding so their artists get what they deserve.

With the recent success of the SM Town show at the Zénith, many are starting to look at K-pop. When can we expect Korean artists on Bishi-Bishi?

Xavier Norindr: We should have some in 2012.

What about Chinese artists?

Xavier Norindr: Bishi-Bishi is actually listening to all of Asia right now.

Can you offer up some exclusive news to finish things off? A teaser as to who will sign with you next?

Xavier Norindr: Unfortunately, I can’t say much. However, you can expect to see some digital distribution for LAZYgunsBRIZKY, who were at the Japan Expo and on tour last month. Also, the new TRILL-DAN release is almost done and we will announce a release date shortly. Watch out for the new music video soon. It was shot in France!

Thank you!

Find out more about Bishi-Bishi at Bishi-Bishi's official website, Bishi-Bishi's Facebook page, Bishi-Bishi's Twitter or Bishi-Bishi's Myspace.
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