Interview with TOKYO GIRLS' STYLE

interview - 07.07.2014 20:01

A week before their debut US performance at the J-POP SUMMIT Festival, TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE found some time to answer some questions from JaME.

Formed in 2010, all-female idol group TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE consists of five teenage girls who aim to be able to perform not just in Japan, but also around Asia and other parts of the world. In just a week's time, the girls will advance a step closer to their goal as they make their debut US performance at the J-POP SUMMIT Festival 2014 in San Francisco. Despite their busy schedule, the girls found some time to answer some questions from JaME.

How do you feel about performing in the US for the first time?

Yuri Nakae: Performing in Asian countries was one of our goals, so we are super happy that we have made it so far from home to America! We would like to make the best of this opportunity to let more people know about TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE.

Which song from your latest album Killing Me Softly would you recommend to fans?

Ayano Konishi: My favorite song is Partition Love. This song really reflects the good times of a high schooler’s youth, and I think the audience will be able to reflect back and feel sympathy when listening to this song. I also love how we sang softly during the first verse and I think it is a unique feature of this song.

Miyu Yamabe: I would love our fans to listen to Zutto wasurenai. The lyrics of this song is very empowering during painful times and I personally listened to this song when I want a pick-me-up. I put more effort into singing and performing this song compared to the other tracks, so I would love all of you to listen to it!

Hitomi Arai: Since our debut as TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE, we were singing songs that were slightly mature for us, however for this album the content of the lyrics were mostly something that reflects our real age. In addition to our usual stylish sounds, we were able to incorporate our feelings more into this album. In particular, I really like the cute high school student-like lyrics of the song Renai Etude.

Yuri Nakae: The song Zutto wasurenai’s lyrics are very sympathizing and I have strong feelings for it. This song is made in response to Kitto wasurenai… from the first album. I really love this song as well so I would love all of you to take this opportunity to listen both songs.

Mei Shoji: Killing Me Softly is actually the first song we started to work on since we got together as Tokyo Girls’ Style, and we have been saving this song for about four years now. This is a very memorable song for all of us so we hope that many people will love this song as much as we do.

You released a dance cover of BiS's song nerve. Why did you decide to cover nerve and how was the experience like?

Mei Shoji: We share the same agency as BiS and they have always taken good care of us, we also have a lot of opportunities to perform on the same stage, so we covered their song to show our appreciation and respect. Releasing a cover of their song is a good opportunity for fans of the original song to listen to TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE, and since we arranged the song in a way which suits us more, we gained further understanding of our style of music.

You previously released songs in Chinese. Are there any plans to release more songs in other languages?

Miyu Yamabe: We don't have a particular song we are currently working on, but we are very eager about performing outside of Japan, so we would definitely love to create new songs in English and Chinese! We are ambitious about creating an original song in the United States as well!

There are many female idol groups in Japan. How do you strive to be unique among your fellow artists?

Hitomi Arai: We are pretty sure that every group has their own charm, and we believe our charm is to convey the “enjoyment of music” to our fans through our songs and performance. The quality of our songs is valued by our fans, but because we wanted to work on our performance, we all moved to Tokyo this spring. This allowed us to put even more effort into our songs and performance than ever before.

Tell us an interesting fact about each member in TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE.

TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE: Ayano is from Osaka, so she loves comedians. She often performs Black Mayonnaise member Ryuichi Kosugi’s “Hee-haa!”

TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE: Miyu performs Gangnam Style in the street to make everyone laugh. She is so innocent and cheerful.

TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE: Hitomi usually acts at her own pace but can be clumsy sometimes. When she was in high school, she once accidentally wore a classmate’s loafers home. There was also an incident where she got lost in town and started crying.

TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE: Yuri is very friendly and always energetic. She also likes to observe other people and imitate their characteristics.

TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE: Mei is very flexible and goes with the flow a lot. She rarely says no, so when we performed at the Budokan, one of the staff told her to perform with a star on her head. She ended up performing with a headband with three stars on it.

What were some interesting encounters you had while filming PVs?

Ayano Konishi: When we shot the music video for the song Himawari to hoshikuzu, Mei and Ayano’s eyes were very swollen because their eyes get swollen pretty easily. When it was time for us to start shooting the video, their eyes did not heal in time so their eyes were swollen in the actual video. We were really disappointed!

What are some themes you would like to explore in future releases?

Miyu Yamabe: As TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE, we have over 40 original songs, but we have no songs that are seasonal So we are looking forward to creating a song which defines summer and a song which our fans can enjoy by swinging their towels in the air and enjoying the summer weather!

Which country would you like to perform in next, and why?

TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE: We all love Korean artists so we would definitely love to perform in Korea! We would also love to visit the United States as many times as we can and would love to visit California and go to cities like Los Angeles.

Please leave a message for your fans.

TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE: Thank you so much for your support! We aim to be able to perform not just in Japan, but also around Asia and other parts of the world too. So, we all hope you can watch us develop. We are also thinking of working with new challenges as we start performing in other parts of the world, so we would love your support! We will try our best to perform as much as we can outside of Japan so please keep looking forward!

JaME would like to thank TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE and MediaLab for making this interview possible.
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