Interview: Japanese metalcore band HANABIE. spoke to The Natural Aristocrat® about their first time performing in New York City, hit single “Be the GAL”, meeting Limp Bizkit at the LouderThanLife Metal Music Festival, fan comments on Reddit & Discord, and more!
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT (NIR REGEV): How excited are you to be playing in New York City at the Gramercy Theatre? Is this your first time in NYC?
YUKINA: This is my first time in New York City! I was really looking forward to it because it is also the setting for my favorite movie Spider-Man!
It’s a very classy place and combined with our “bad sounds” it was a chaotic and one-of-a-kind wonderful time.
MATSURI: I have always longed to go to New York City, so I was very excited to go to NYC to perform as HANABIE. I was so happy and excited to go to perform live as HANABIE..
HETTSU: It was my first time in New York City, but I was very excited because it is a city that has been the setting for various movies.
CHIKA: I had gone to study drums for a week when I was a college student! My friends who were studying abroad also came to see our live performance.
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: How did you first react when HANABIE song “Be the GAL” reached 1 million views on YouTube in just 2 months?
YUKINA: Exactly WTF? I’m very happy that the number of views increases faster and faster with each new release!
MATSURI: I was very surprised! I was happy to see that the sparkling Japanese culture of “GAL” has spread to the world again!
HETTSU: I was very happy because it was the first music video we released after our major label debut! I hope people will listen to this song and feel summer forever!
CHIKA: I was an unknown drummer until half a year ago, so to get 1 million views in 2 months was quite a feat for me!
My first dream in 2021 was “the number of views of the MV exceeds 1 million,” so I’m happy that it became my true dream!
YUKINA: I take my time to look at them when I have free time! Once again, I want to thank you all for your support.
MATSURI: I was told by a staff member that there is a place where fans can interact with each other, so I sometimes check it out! This kind of content is wonderful!
HETTSU: I’ve been told about it by fans and staff members, and sometimes I go to take a peek!
CHIKA: I’ve heard about it and just looked at it again, and I’m glad to see that you write a lot about HANABIE. I’m glad to see that you wrote about us.
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: What did it mean to you to have your song “NEET Game” featured on Netflix anime series ‘Cyberpunk: Edgerunners’? Were you directly contacted by animation studio STUDIO TRIGGER?
YUKINA: I was happy to be included in the playlist of the anime and the world view matched with the song.
I will try my best to be chosen as the theme song for the anime someday.
MATSURI: As I recall, it was on the playlist, and I was excited because it was an animation, I had originally watched. (laughs)
I haven’t heard from the animation studio, but I’m glad it caught their attention.
HETTSU: I’m glad it was featured because it has a great atmosphere!
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: To Hettsu: Have you seen the ‘No Beer = Sad Hetsu 😭’ YouTube clip? Can you provide the backstory on that night’s show?
HETTSU: I had a chance to watch it! I left a beer backstage to toast during the show, and it seems it went missing….
I drank the beer at the end of the show instead. (laughs)
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: HANABIE. is joining iconic metal band Limp Bizkit on tour in New Zealand on November 26. Did Fred Durst or Wes Borland personally reach out? I recall Fred doing this with band ‘Staind’ in their early days.
YUKINA: We greeted them both when they were with us at the LouderThanLife Festival! We can’t wait for the day of the concert.
MATSURI: I had the pleasure of greeting you at the LouderThanLife Festival. I was also able to watch them live performance from the side of the stage and was very inspired! I am looking forward to the day of the live show!
HETTSU: We greeted each other when we performed at the same festival! They were very kind to us and I am looking forward to performing with them!
CHIKA: We greeted them for the first time at the LouderThanLife Festival. I was overwhelmed by the performance and the audience filled the far corners of the venue at the live show!
I am very much looking forward to the day when I can join them tour!
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: To Yukina: What vocal techniques do you practice to protect your voice on a live tour?
YUKINA: It may only be sold in Japan, but I wear a special mask that has a pocket inside and a piece of damp paper inside to keep my throat from drying out when I sleep.
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: Can you describe HANABIE’s creative process in the studio to make a song come to life?
YUKINA: Basically, I share with the members what I have thought carefully at home by myself! I am always excited to see what kind of reaction I will get from the members.
MATSURI: To play around with nothing to fear! Basically, I make a demo, share it with the members, and finally hand it over to the arranger, but at every step of the process, we all keep a playful mindset very important.
HETTSU: I take the bass line from Matsuri’s demo and arrange it in various ways during the recording process!
CHIKA: I have mainly listened to POP music, so I try not to make it too POP!
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: What did you learn from the challenges of recording prior albums going into ‘Reborn Superstar!’?
YUKINA: I’ve learned to control my playfulness better than before.
MATSURI: I am now able to instantly know if my take is good or bad! I also value maintaining motivation for production during recording.
HETTSU: Each song has a strong theme, so I’ve learned to face the recording process with an image in mind, in accordance with the theme!
CHIKA: This was the first recording for HANABIE. I had an image of a professional recording studio being strict and scary, but I felt the warmth of the studio and felt more at ease than ever before!
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: What does the future hold for HANABIE.?
YUKINA: I want to become the world’s number one girl band. Also, personally, I want to perform at Sanrio Puroland (an amusement park with Hello Kitty, etc.) in Japan.
MATSURI: I want to be known as HANABIE when it comes to girl bands.
HETTSU: We are going to celebrate our 10th anniversary in a year and a half, so we want to do a lot of special things!
CHIKA: I want to become a representative of girl bands, and I want to grow old thinking how fun it is to perform live!
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: Did anime ‘Welcome to the N-H-K’s take on NEET/Hikikomori culture provide any lyrical inspiration for your song ’NEET Game’?
YUKINA: No, it did not.
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: Did you all become friends under the umbrella of fandom for band ‘Maximum the Hormone’ basically?
YUKINA: I became friends with Matsuri through Maximum the Hormone, and Hettsu and Matsuri and I were in their copy band in the band club in high school.
MATSURI: I originally loved Maximum the Hormone and became friends with Yukina, who also loved Maximum the Hormone, because we had something in common. Hettsu also started listening to them because Yukina and I loved them, and he got hooked.
HETTSU: We were all into them so much that we played in a copy band in our high school band club.
CHIKA: I joined HANABIE. because my teacher at a vocational school introduced me to the band. Of course I had heard Maximum the Hormone’s music before, and I had seen them live at festivals and covered their drums!
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: A fan on Reddit wants to know if your CDs being sold on tour are regular or limited editions?
HETTSU: It is the regular edition! We only sold the regular edition overseas.
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: At which live venue do you feel HANABIE. had their best ever performance?
YUKINA: It gets updated every time. I guess the one I’m answering now is NEX_FEST since it’s the end of NEX_FEST!
MATSURI: Most recently, it’s NEX_FEST! I will treasure that spectacle for the rest of my life! Of course, the performances overseas were also the best, but they are being renewed day by day!
HETTSU: NEX_FEST! So many people watched us that I didn’t know where the first person in the back was!
CHIKA: The most recent NEX_FEST! The WOD at TOUSOU was huge and amazing! I am happy because I want to compare myself with the past, not with others! I want to keep on updating the best!
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: How would you describe the Harajuku fashion & hair styles in your own words to people outside of Japan?
YUKINA: Colorful, POP, flashy! It’s rare for Japanese people to be so straight about what they like, and I express that to the fullest.
MATSURI: I think it’s about filling up what you like and expressing it to the fullest!
HETTSU: The assertion of each KAWAII’s individuality!
CHIKA: Colorful and full of energy! I think it is a fashion that is very particular and unique, such as the combination of many kinds of accessories!
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: Thanks Hanabie. !
HANABIE. : Thank you!
HANABIE. on Instagram and X (Twitter):
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