This January, rock band BRATS
made their US debut at California convention Anime Los Angeles
, and we had a quick interview
shortly after where they looked back on the experience and hinted at the flurry of activity that they had in store for the rest of 2020. From January to August, they released eight songs as consecutive digital singles, and today, those tracks also got
a physical release on their new album Karma
While guitarist Hinako
recently left the band, sisters Rei
are still soldiering on with plenty of passion and creative energy, and we were able to ask them some questions about the release, the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on their activities and their recent return to live performances.
What is the meaning of the album title
Karma? Why is this a special word for both of you?
: I think this is the word that expresses how we both feel right now about living life. Music is our destiny, it's how we have to express ourselves in order to keep going.
: We realized that if you took music away from us, out of our lives, there's nothing left. It's become connected to everything, really. As sisters, we're linked together in that fate.
: Is it worth it to keep going if you're not pursuing your destiny? That's the meaning.
How did your 2020 release schedule change because of COVID-19?
was originally scheduled for release in July, at the end of our seven months of new singles starting in January 2020.
: We had already recorded most of the tracks, but because of the self-quarantine period, it looked like we wouldn't be able to finalize some of the remaining tracks on time. So during the gap, we decided to take Kimarigoto
which is a track that represents the spirit of BRATS
– and rearrange that song remotely and release it to our fans. So seven months of releases became eight months of releases.
has changed for us so much since we first recorded it. It's our "statement song" in our live shows, and even though we didn't plan this at the beginning of the year, going back to think about this song
with our current mindset helped us focus even more on our identity, on who we are now that Karma
is ready for release.
How did your recording situation change? Which song was hardest to complete under these circumstances?
: When we were able to get back to recording, I was worried about Toge
and Forget me not
, which we still had to record vocals for. But as soon as I stood in front of a vocal mic in the recording studio,
I was able to put my worries behind me and focus on my connection to these lyrics.
Why did you decide to release new songs every month, instead of waiting to release them all together in an album? How do you feel this style keeps you connected to fans in a different way?
: This was decided by the label, but I think it was a good strategy. We had time to think about each song, and opportunities to work out the best approach.
: It felt really cool to me to have "something fun to look forward to each month". I hope our fans had fun with that, too.
What was the inspiration for the "Fan Version" music video for
: The producer came up with this idea, and honestly I was wondering how many people would want to join in during such a difficult time, but I was happy that we did it. Ms. Downer
is a song that we really need
the audience to perform with us, and this was a way for all of us to share a happy moment together.
The lyrics to your songs are often dark and intense. Why is it important to you to explore heavier themes through BRATS’ music?
: It's not something I go out of my way to do – it comes out that way because I can only write about heavy themes. These are the things that are really on my mind at the time.
Did the lack of concerts make it difficult to stay motivated to practice and rehearse while in lockdown?
: There was definitely a period of feeling down or lost or frustrated during the self-quarantine. Because we couldn't have rehearsals or live shows as a result of the coronavirus, it just put me in a negative cycle for
: I lost a bit of motivation during the self-isolation period. I couldn't escape the thoughts of just waiting and waiting until our rehearsals and shows could start again.
: Although people will not die without music, it can serve as inspiration for people to start or produce something. Maybe it's not essential, but sometimes it's that thing you look forward to that sparks excitement, like the
dessert that's served as the last course of a meal. It's still nice to have, after all.
What was it like returning to the stage for your
BRATS Continue concerts? What did you feel when you looked at the live audience and the livestream cameras?
: I was just happy to be able to return to a place where I can sing again. I focused my energy on that.
: I wasn't really thinking about the camera, since BRATS Continue
was held at a venue with a small crowd. I was really nervous to do a live performance in front of everybody for the first time in a while. Also, I
was happy to be able to bring BRATS
' energy back to the stage after a long time away.
From the most recent concert on September 13th, the
Karma Special Event, what was the best moment?
: The concert on September 13th was a new experience. When there was nobody in the crowd, I imagined myself in the position of the guest seats and camera and imagined us performing. I tried to picture what kind of faces we
were making and the actions we were doing as we performed. It was fun, because it gave me a feeling I hadn't known before.
: The Karma Special Event
was the first time we did a live performance in a space with nobody else. There were some strange moments, but it was really fun to be able to do the live performance we had planned for.
If I had to pick a moment, it was looking at the other band members to see what they were feeling. I usually don't do that too much, because I'm looking at the audience instead.
: At the time, I wondered who I was singing for, but I've never really sang to impress anyone, I've always just sung songs to express myself as truly as I can. It would be great if the audience feels something too, whether
they're watching me sing at the venue or on the internet.
: This time, we were the audience for each other, and I think everyone watching could feel the fun we were having.
JaME would like to thank BRATS and Resonance Media for making this interview possible.
is out in stores and online today, and links to download and stream the release are available here
. If you haven't been following BRATS
' digital releases, be
sure to check out the rest of the recent music videos on their YouTube channel