LONDON BLUE talk about their beloved city.
Earlier this year, UK-inspired idol group LONDON BLUE held their debut performance in London as part of HYPER JAPAN Festival 2018. Under challenging conditions backstage at an incredibly noisy venue, JaME interviewed KANA, KAYANO, KYOKA and RINKA. RINA wasn’t in London.
Hello Kana, Kayano, Kyoka and Rinka.
LONDON BLUE: Mhm, yeah!
Welcome to London.
LONDON BLUE: Aww, thank you!
So, you seem to be very busy at the moment. You’ve done thirteen concerts in June … And then you have something like twelve concerts in July as well, and you’ve come to London ...
LONDON BLUE: (enthusiastically) Mhm!
So how are you enjoying your trip to London? Have you had a chance to relax and have you seen any of the sights yet?
LONDON BLUE: Oh, yes we have! We did! We’ve seen a lot! Yesterday! Abbey road … Picadilly … London Bridge … Buckingham … Buckingham palace!
Nice. Which was your favourite?
KANA, Kayano and Kyoka: Buckingham … (all members agree it's Buckingham) Big, big, big!
Did you get a picture?
LONDON BLUE: Yeah! Yes!
Excellent. So, idol groups are gaining popularity in the UK, but your style is a little bit different. Can you explain how your group became themed around London? And the UK?
KANA and KAYANO: Blue is related to the “London Blue Topaz” gemstone. Our musical concept is "British pop rock", so we sometimes feature The Beatles as a motif for our songs. Those two key words together make “LONDON BLUE”.
I noticed on your first song I Want To Hold Youfrom a few years ago, and I agree, it was quite Beatles-esque, very 1960s pop, and I immediately heard that and thought ‘wow’ - it’s like a pop tribute.
KAYANO: We really love London … (in English) I love London … In the beginning I didn’t really know London well … (all members discuss) Not really, yeah, yeah, just a (in English) little, little … But now, I love London! It’s great. Big love ...
Since your first single, do you now consider your current music to be your definitive style?
KANA: I don’t think it changed a lot ...
Do you think it’ll change in the future?
LONDON BLUE: I don’t think our songs will change really, right?
Do you feel more confident and are gaining in confidence to convey your feelings when performing?
LONDON BLUE: Yes!
LONDON BLUE: Yes! Yes!
(laughs) Very good!
LONDON BLUE: (laugh)
Do you think this performance this weekend will give you something special to take back to Japan?
KANA and KAYANO: It has been special! To perform in London has always been LONDON BLUE’s dream, so to finally stand on a stage in London has been very special … (in English) Meaning … it’s a dream.
Yeah, it must be something quite special for you … And now you have! Maybe again? Are you going to perform again in London?
LONDON BLUE: (in English) … Of course! (laugh)
Good answer. Now, I noticed that your music video for Serenade of Reminiscence has you all playing instruments! So guitar, drums, keyboard …
LONDON BLUE: Ah, yes!
It was an interesting mixture of rock and pop. A little different, not typical J-pop but something a little bit different, which was interesting. Do you think you’ll do that again? Do you think you might play your instruments again or, perhaps on stage? At a live?
KAYANO and KANA: (discuss) We don’t really play them at the moment, but it’d be great if we could do that again someday.
KAYANO, KYOKO and RINKA: Hmm … Well, the lineup was a bit different back then … (in English) Different member, (Japanese) so … The members in the PV weren’t us, the members in the music video were … (in English) different. We're new members.
I see. So, does anybody have a favourite instrument? What about your individual skills? Do you have any instruments that you can play? Any special skills or talents that we don’t know about?
Member: (in English) I can play the guitar.
Very good. I can’t play the guitar, but I can play the drums.
Several members: (in English) Drums! Cool!
Nice. Guitars, keyboards?
Another member: (in English) I can play the piano.
So, did you all learn in school?
Several members: (in English) Oh, school, school … No, no ...
So you taught yourselves?
KAYANO: (in English) Yeah, in lives and guitar lessons.
Other members: (in English) Yes, yes.
Member: (in English) Piano school …
Wow, interesting! So now you’ve visited London and seen the city. Do you think there might be an EP or an album with a theme of traveling to London? Or, some songs inspired by your visit this weekend?
KAYANO: Oh, do you mean like filming in London? Ah! Our single released on September 5th is titled LONDON CALLING.
Might you do any more songs? Perhaps some topics, like, for example, you went to Abbey Road, you went to Buckingham Palace -- maybe some songs about your travels?
LONDON BLUE: Oh, that’d be nice. Please ask our producer! (laugh)
So, your first major debut single LONDON CALLING is out in September. Congratulations, well done. Please tell us more about the single, and any special events for the promotion. What do you have planned?
LONDON BLUE: Oh, in Japan. We’ll be doing events in Japan. A live concert for the release ...
RINKA: In Japan.
Tower Records or a festival or …?
LONDON BLUE: Tower Records …
KANA: At the livehouse … HMV …
Oh, HMV? Excellent.
LONDON BLUE: And it’s on sale on Amazon!
LONDON BLUE: Yeah, good!
KYOKA: And, a one-man live.
When? What time?
LONDON BLUE: September 19th at Akasaka Blitz!
That’s a great venue. So can you tell us anything about the single? What’s its story and what is it about?
KAYANO: The single’s theme? The theme of LONDON CALLING? … Oh, it’s about war. (in English) No war.
No war? Wow, that’s surprisingly deep.
LONDON BLUE: Everyone’s together. Peace, peace.
RINKA: (in English) Peaceful, peaceful.
LONDON BLUE: It doesn’t matter whether you’re a man or a woman; sex doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you’re a kid or an adult; everyone should be happy … (in English) Together, together. (in Japanese) Happiness ... (in English) Happy, peace …
That’s excellent. I didn’t expect that; that’s really good … So you perform at many festivals in Japan. But, do you plan to perform at any of the festivals in other countries like Japan Expo in France? Or Mexico? Or, in America?
LONDON BLUE: (in English) No … (laugh) Only London! (laugh)
Ah, I appreciate that exclusivity! (laughs) Do you have any messages for your fans? Any new fans? And any old fans?
LONDON BLUE: Hmm … We love you. We love you.
RINKA: (in English) I love you.
KYOKA: (in English) Thank you very much.
KAYANO: It’s thanks to all of you that were chosen. We’re grateful …
RINKA: (in English) Thank you so much.
KANA and KAYANO: (in English) I love you. I love you.
A question for the newest members — how are you enjoying your time in the group? I don’t think you’ve been in the group very long.
KAYANO, KYOKA and RINKA: (in English) New members? Ah, yes.
KYOKA: (in English) Yes, yes.
KAYANO, KYOKA and RINKA: (in English) Yes!
Have you had any experiences which you weren’t expecting? For example, did you know you were coming to London when you joined the group? Or was it a bit of a surprise, and has this been an interesting trip for you?
KYOKA: (in English) Ah, yes, I know, yes.
RINKA and KYOKA: Oh, new experiences … The audience’s enthusiasm felt totally different to what we’ve had until now … and then there have been experiences that have been different from up until now, and it’s all been full of stuff I didn’t know. Every day has been really fulfilling, and everything is so different. But I mean that in a really good way, that everything’s different.
RINKA: This is my first time working as an idol … (in English) First time, idol group. (in Japanese) So, for me too, everything has been a first time, and it’s really felt like (in English) “surprise, surprise, surprise, surprise”. (in Japanese) So, well, whilst everything has been a first time, it has been really fun. (in English) Very fun? (in Japanese) That’s about it I guess … (in English) Very fun!
Excellent, very good! Well, that’s all my questions. So, thank you very much.
LONDON BLUE: Thank you very much!
Are you going to be performing again this weekend?
LONDON BLUE: Yes, (in English) here — tomorrow!
I look forward to it. It’ll be good. Excellent, thank you very much.
LONDON BLUE: Yeah!
JaME would like to thank LONDON BLUE and HYPER JAPAN for this interview opportunity.