Interview Exclusive

Interview with BURST GIRL

16/11/2020 2020-11-16 01:00:00 JaME Author: ChrisN, Christine Translator: Pareesa Madjd, Sophie Copyeditor: Tomo

Interview with BURST GIRL

Punk idols BURST GIRL are still eager to explode on American soil someday.

© BURST GIRL. All rights reserved.

Punk idol group BURST GIRL exploded onto the scene in 2018, billing themselves as the "craziest and strongest punk rock idols". Dismayed at the disbandment of their previous group, Guso Drop, four of that group’s members, Yurapico, Rin, Miyako and Rei, took matters into their own hands, forming BURST GIRL as a self-produced and self-managed group. Their aggressive punk sound makes for some wild and raucous live performances, though they can still switch things up with pop and electronica influences too, as their latest single story shows.

While the group's US debut at Saboten Con, which was scheduled for this September, ended up being cancelled due to the coronavirus, earlier this year, we had the chance to ask the group's current line-up about the creation of story and their future plans.

How would you describe BURST GIRL’s music and performance style, for any readers unfamiliar with your work?

BURST GIRL: The strongest and craziest. We are a self-produced idol group that is based on the concept of out of control, wild punk rock idols. As BURST GIRL, our music is mainly punk rock, but actually if you listen to all of our songs, you’ll realize that our music contains a wide variety of genres, from cool songs to cute songs. We think anyone could find a song of ours they like. Also, each of our members write the lyrics to a number of our songs themselves and our leader, Yurapico, thinks up our choreography, so that’s something we’d like people to notice.

As far as our concerts go, there aren’t any real rules. So as long as you don’t hurt the people around you or make anyone feel uncomfortable, you’re free to enjoy the show any way you like! We always give our concerts our all, and we push ourselves to the point of feeling like “I’m okay with dying on top of this stage!”. We would really like you to come to our show and actually experience it.

If you had to choose just one song to recommend to new listeners to convey the essence of BURST GIRL, which one would you choose and why?

BURST GIRL: Every song is very precious, but the most important one is GREAT FXXKING MY WORLD. This song is also BURST GIRL’s first music video. We think it is an important song that shows why the members of BURST GIRL exist in this world and what it is that we want to communicate to everyone. It is a song that is so essential that we hardly ever remove this song from a concert set list.

What made you want to join a punk rock idol group instead of a more conventional idol unit or a band?

Yurapico: Originally, I loved to sing and dance, and my favorite idol groups before joining our current group were AKB48, Morning Musume and BABYMETAL and my favorite artists were AAA and Kimura Kaela. I admired these people who did a genre of bright, sparkling performances that was pretty far from the punk genre, but during that time I got an audition for our predecessor group, Guso Drop. It was the most intense rock group in the world and it made me want to become a rock idol who could continue to put her heart and soul into what she does with that same intensity and be the very best. Since then, I've come to really love rock and I wanted to continue doing it in the future, but the group disbanded. My desire to continue with the members who didn’t give up was the reason that BURST GIRL was formed!

BURST GIRL is a group based on the concept of punk rock idols but I think that the way we have lived our lives by overcoming so many challenges really makes us more punk than anyone else. So I want to do my best to cherish the feelings of what I set out to do and deliver cool performances for everyone on various stages and at my dream venue, Budoukan.

Rin: At the time, I wanted to be an idol but being a regular cute idol didn’t quite suit me. When I saw the audition posting for our previous group that said “Recruiting new members for the most intense idols in the world”, I applied with a mysterious sense of rivalry that made me feel like “I have intensity” and here I am today. BURST GIRL was formed with the members of the previous group who were heartbroken with the group’s break up and couldn’t give up on their dreams. Ultimately, we value performing concerts filled with the same intensity and soul as before. Exploding with full force at all times!

Waka: I like singing and dancing, but it’s not geared toward typical idols. I like band culture, but for me it’s the feeling of wanting to dance.

Roa: For me, personally, the typical idol group has an image of performing with a sparkling aura that fills people with vigor and being phenomenal at singing at dancing. In contrast, the idol image I wanted to try for myself was an idol who could make the most out of my personal punk and metal-loving hard element and, of course, also enjoy singing and dancing from the bottom of their heart. In September of last year, I was able to join BURST GIRL through the new member audition. If you were to ask me what made me want to join, my main reason would be the fact that when seeing BURST GIRL’s live videos and attending actual live performances, my aforementioned ideal idol image was greatly exceeded. The rest can be understood if you see the live performances!

You’re releasing a new CD titled story in May, which has songs written by DJ Mariko Goto, Toru Hidaka of THE STARBEMS and Marya of KING BROTHERS and arrangements by Oyasumi Hologram’s producer Kouichi Ogawa. How did these collaborations come about?

BURST GIRL: Mariko-san had written the song Bousou Shoujo (“Reckless Girl”) back during the time of our predecessor group, Guso Drop. It’s a song we’re really attached to and we thought we’d like her to one day compose a song for BURST GIRL too, so we asked her.

Marya-san was previously part of a double bill between our predecessor group and KING BROTHERS and additionally, Marya & Linda did a double bill with us as BURST GIRL. All of our members loved getting to see KING BROTHERS perform live, so we requested that they write a song for us. With the addition of Ogawa-san’s arrangement of Marya-san’s song, we thought we could feel new potential to become even stronger and more wild than before, so we asked Ogawa-san to arrange it.

Since we figured Hidaka-san composes for Team Shachihoko and is also a person who looks after many people, we reached out to him. We had never met him before but we arranged to meet up and he even saw our live performance, and that’s how he came to compose a song for us.

What did each of these artists bring to BURST GIRL’s sound?

BURST GIRL: By working together with DJ Mariko Goto, Marya, Koichi Ogawa, and Toru Hidaka, we were able to feel a sense of “potential” that was difficult to feel before. All of them participated during our recording day and would give us advice on how to sing, and we were able to make a lot of new discoveries. It really became a good learning experience.

We were also able to sell and produce records that had the versions of these three songs being sung by their original songwriters on the B-side. Those songs became very precious to us.

Bands are often reluctant to get involved with idol projects, and idols usually perform shows with four or five other idol groups. However, you also perform live as part of a line-up with punk bands. What do you think of this barrier between idol groups and bands? Is it something you’re trying to break down?

BURST GIRL: By playing with bands at taiban* lives, we have been able to learn a lot about strengthening our performance, singing, and conversational speaking skills that we have been lacking. So, as far as the performance part goes, it isn’t a wall but we think there are a lot of parts that we need to be respectful of. Of course, live sounds of musical instruments have much more power than pre-recorded music we use for our performance. But we do our best not to be overpowered. BURST GIRL wants to continue to cross over the different genres!

*Translator’s note: Taiban live performances feature multiple bands in one show. They are similar to festivals in that there are multiple live acts in one event, however taibans are typically only at concert venues or clubs.

You were due to appear at Saboten Con in the US this September, but unfortunately the convention ended up being cancelled because of the coronavirus. What was it like going through that situation?

: We were really happy when the decision to attend Saboten Con was made! We immediately told our families about it. We also had a strong desire to notify our overseas fans of the news.

The thing we really looked forward to the most about performing in America is being able to perform live in person before our American audience. We always get a ton of comments during our YouTube and Instagram live streams and other messages via social media, and hearing how much our overseas audiences love us from the bottom of their hearts really made us wish our show at the con would come sooner so that we can return what we received. However, due to the coronavirus, we aren’t able to have the concert this time. It’s very unfortunate, but we worry about our fans overseas and wish for them to take care of themselves and stay safe.

Are you surprised by the amount of interest in Japanese idols from overseas?

BURST GIRL: We are extremely happy that there are people who live across the sea, speaking different languages and growing up in completely different environments, who love Japanese music and idol culture! We are always being encouraged by the comments from Twitter, Instagram, SNS, YouTube, live streams and such from our super enthusiastic audience. When we see how hard our fans work to study and use Japanese to be able to convey their feelings to us, we feel inspired to study so we can speak English too. It fills us with immense gratitude.

Do you have plans for getting your music out to international fans?

BURST GIRL: We are thinking of ways to get our overseas fans to listen to our music more and to release CDs for them! Please look forward to it!!

You’re a self-managed group. How does this affect your lives and careers as idols?

BURST GIRL: One of the good things about being self-produced is that we can directly receive the responses from our audience, because we ourselves are the management! When we act as management, we are able to contemplate what kinds of things to do or work on according to the feedback we receive from our audience.

Also, the sense of accomplishment we feel when completing our songs and dances to the best of our ability is probably hundreds of times more rewarding compared to how other groups would feel because we are self-produced idols. Of course, there are some difficulties along the way as well. (laughs) We ship the items purchased through our online shop by ourselves, set up meetings with lots of people, and work hard to both thrive and stay in business as a company. We have to sacrifice our free time and holidays more than we expected, but the happy faces of our fans always remind us why we do what we do and help us to overcome challenges! That’s why the support from our fans is truly a treasure!

What else can fans look forward to from BURST GIRL in 2020?

BURST GIRL: Due to the coronavirus in 2020, everyone is likely going to put a lot of things they wanted to do on hold and experience a lot of pain and sadness. So, in order for us to bring you some big news that can completely dispel all of those things, BURST GIRL will continue to push forward down our own path, and we hope that everyone will burst with feelings of anticipation while you wait for it!!

Do you have a message for your fans around the world?

BURST GIRL: Thank you so much for always sending us your warmth and enthusiasm on social media!

We are always being supported by the intense cheering of everyone overseas and the efforts they make to come to our live tours from far away and communicate their feelings to us with all their hearts. If we could help all the wonderful people who always support us from abroad even a little bit, we would be very happy! Our desire to perform concerts overseas is really growing, so we are sincerely looking forward to someday actualizing this memorable first step with everyone and bursting in America!! We love you!!!

JaME would like to thank BURST GIRL and Chaotic Harmony for making this interview possible.

 Download or stream "story"

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