Translated by pretty pretty GANG
It's interesting exactly because I'm an idol – Positively contagious [GANG PARADE]
With an intimate nickname of [GANPARE], the 9 members idol group [GANG PARADE] with rising popularity. The girls with a concept of [Everyone's playground], will have a major debut on 17/4 from the new sub label of WARNER MUSIC JAPAN, [FUELED BY MENTAIKO]. In agency WACK which is somehow an everlasting topic, starting with Kamiya Saki the “One buzz cut idol in 1000 years” the girls unleash a strong performance but the path to major debut wasn't an easy one. Overcoming several walls, tied by a solid bond, [GANPARE] is the 2nd round of [AMAPICK], we draw near the origin of the girls positiveness.
Why katakana? The meaning behind the strange names
- Your name and introduction, please.
Kamiya Saki (under, Kamiya): I'm Kamiya Saki. I've been a member since [GANG PARADE] predecessor [Planime], I'm the oldest and only original member.
Tsukino Usagi (under, Tsukino): I'm Tsukino Usagi. I'm the most recent member along with Haruna Bad Chiiiin, passing the [WACK joint audition 2018] exactly 1 year ago.
Can GP Maika (under, Can): I'm Can GP Maika. Not a WACK training camp audition, I passed a regular [GANG PARADE] member audition.
- Maika-san had a name change during activities, right?
Can: Yes. In the audition Tsukino Usagi was in, I participated in the role of teaching them but, that time there was a point race going on that had would change one member's name, I ended up losing…… as a punishment Watanabe-san added the “GP” to my name Can Maika, since then it has been one year.
- It's probably difficult for the parts involved but, Watanabe-san plans are always sensational. There's also a meaning to “GP”.
Can: “GP” are the initials for [GANG PARADE]. It was a punishment but, Watanabe-san said “You'll carry GANPARE name forever”, so it was gives with a gentle and loving reason.
- Starting with [GANG PARADE], the names of everyone in WACK are written in katakana, right? Perhaps it's an emulation of the group Watanabe-san previously was in charge with, [BiS]? What are the origins for your names?
Kamiya: I think the names in katakana are probably following [BiS] steps. My name doesn't have a particular origin, the girl who I always make my nails with put together a “name that wouldn't bring bad luck on name based fortunetelling”.
- It's not like you wrote your real name in katakana then?
Kamiya: Yes. Pour Lui, who put together [BiS] in the first place, has a meaning in french of “for him” so, it's properly consistent. Since I joined [BiS], there were a lot of girls with different names so, my name now is fairly normal (laughs). I'm already used to it now but, when [BiSH] member's names were announced for the first time, I thought some amazing names had appeared. Like “Long!”.
- Aina The End-san and Cent Chihiro Chittii-san…… middle dots increased. How about Can-san and Tsukino-san?
Can: Maika is my real name, about Can I often joke “I'm from Okinawa” but, I'm not from Okinawa (laughs). Before each member had their own role like “in charge of buzz cut”, because when I joined everyone had their own role, at first I was in charge of “Yes we can”. That's why there's the meaning of “Nandemo dekiru yo! (Yes, we can)”.
Tsukino: My name was given by Watanabe-san. When it was decided I would join, before the debut announcement, Watanabe-san sent me an e-mail with about 10 ideas for names, in the end he wrote “My recommendation is Tsukino Usagi”, so I answered “Then, that one please”, and it became that name. With everyone having their names in katakana, I was happy to be given the first name with kanji in WACK.
- You pay attention “Only one uses kanji!”. When Watanabe-san sent you the option was it written with kanji already?
Tsukino: Yes. When I received the first idea it was [月のウサギ], “no” was in hiragana. I thought perhaps the impression would be better if besides the kanji everything else was in katakana? So when I asked for confirmation he said “It's completely ok”, and it became this writing.
- The sound is the same but it's not like “I really love Sailor Moon!”, right?
Tsukino: I like it as much as everyone else but, that's not the reason for it. I'm often asked about it.
Kamiya: Wasn't there an option like “Diamond”?
Tsukino: Ah! There were names like “Tsukino Monogatari” or “Moon Nanchara”. It was decided among the moon series.
The thoughts put into major debut single
- [GANG PARADE] started in 2014 as [Planime], then became [POP] in 2015, in 2016 changed it's name to the current one, members left, members joined, and now you have a major debut. Please let us hear the meaning behind the major debut that carries the single [BRAND NEW PARADE].
Can: As an idol group it feels we finally got to have a major debut. Personally it has been 3 years since I joined in 2016 but, there are things happening every day, it feels like it was in a blink of an eye.* Lately we hear a lot that [GANPARE is in a momentum], so I want to continue with that energy. Because the major debut single [BRAND NEW PARADE] has a speed feeling to it, I want to raid to the top just like that. Among the idol world there are a lot of groups that do more crazy things that [GANPARE]. Now [GANPARE] has just started but, we'll fly like a unique existence, going to places we can be lined up with world famous artists.
* Can GP Maika joined [GANG PARADE] via an audition after the group name change and the withdrawal of 2 members.
Tsukino: The major debut was decided, and out biggest lives so far will take place in outdoor venues, on 5/19 at Osaka Castle outside concert hall, and Hibiya outside concert hall on 5/26. When I first heard we would have a major debut, the first thing that came to my mind was the image of an outside live. I thought “This song will be the best if we perform it in an outside venue!”. Saki-san and Maika-san did a really cool choreography, I'm confident we had a good start. With the meaning Watanabe-san and Matsukuma-san put into the lyrics, we'll carry that, go with the speed of the song, and use the major debut as an opportunity to fly high.
Kamiya: As a group I have the same opinion as them. Now there are 9 members, on 5/26 we'll become a 10 members lineup. I have the longest history in [GANG PARADE], the other members each joined in a different period but, our personalities and roles are well distributed. Because I've been doing it for a long time, a part of me wishes to do things so other members can shine more and more. Not going forth as “Me, me” but, entrusting the freshness to fresh girls. I believe that by doing so it will become [GANG PARADE] vigor from now on. There are a lot of things I participate in like choreography and performance and stage but, by leveling up my creative side, I want to get known by more people like “So cool!”.
- Is [coolness] [GANG PARADE] objective?
Kamiya: I feel we have a component that can become a topic, that people with think it's interesting because we're an idol group. I'm proud of being an idol, I never want to run from the idol scope. But that doesn't mean I don't want to be recognized by other things than just an idol, I want to be seen as an artist, with several points of view I want people to think “cool”.
Buzz cut even though an idol
- Indeed there's the image that [GANG PARADE] expands the idol frame in a good way. First there's Kamiya-san's buzz cut, it's a good gap. The reason you did that hair cut, is there a meaning for it?
Kamiya: I'm happy. The occasion was that for our 7th single [FOUL] MV the scene of someone shaving their hair with a hair clipper was necessary, so I did it. At first the president took care of me and said “After it's finished you can grow your hair again. Until it does I'll buy you a wig”. But when I shaved my hair the response from people around me was “Heh? It's unexpectedly good?”…… Sotobayashi-san, who is in charge of outfits and camera also said “I thought it would be more of a funny feeling but, in a good way it's different from what I imagined”, since then I thought it would be better to continue like that, now I bleach it and dye it, having fun with it. Abroad there are a lot models with shaved head that it feels normal but, indeed there's no active idol with that buzz cut. That's why I want people to get interested like “Buzz cut even though she's an idol?”. On twitter there's are videos of children screaming happily when they see me on TV with that hair cut, I'm glad it became a catch. I'm keeping it hoping I can become an icon.
- Why was it necessary for the MV to have such a scene? Is there a meaning of sin to Kamiya-san?
Kamiya: Well, there's not the meaning of sin but, back then since there was the “Girl going bald” there was indeed the question “Did she do something?”. Because Watanabe-san's promotion so far has always been “do something to shock”, I believe he added the “Idol shaves head during MV” to add this component. I also think it can be an homage to the [Car Radio] MV of the abroad artist [twenty one pilots], which has a scene of a men shaving their head.
- Even if it's an homage, it's amazing that the idol group [GANG PARADE] would do that. Because in group chronology Kamiya-san had activities suspended once after [TOKYO IDOL FESTIVAL 2015] and shaved her head after that, people who get to know you for the first time will tend to think “Did she do something?”.
*In the past Kamiya got activities suspended for taking actions during an even live back when the group was called [POP], such as mosh and lifts. Currently during [GANG PARADE] lives dives, lifts, mosh and others are prohibited.
Kamiya: Indeed there's that. When I shaved my head I had black hair but, now I started to dye it. After I bleached it everyone's perspectives changed…… Seems like the feeling of “I'm against it” disappeared after they saw such a colorful buzz cut. There's not persuasion power (laughs). That's why I myself think the buzz cut fit well with fashion and character.
- Are there fans who copy your hair style?
Kamiya: There are! A girl, after the 1st part of the live ended she saw I shaved my head, when the 2nd part started she had her own hair shaved.
Tsukino: Saki-san has a lot of female fans.
Kamiya: This time at the [BRAND NEW PARADE] MV I had a pompadour so seems like the female fans increased. I used a point wig but, please watch it.
An idol group also handling lyrics and composition
- In GANG PARADE members also write lyrics and songs, right?
Kamiya: That's right. The major debut single was a joint work of Watanabe-san and Matsukuma Kenta-san but, the coupling song was written by Terashima Yuka.
- How are lyrics written by members? Is there some sort of competition?
Kamiya: Yes. We receive the song from Matsukuma-san, then everyone writes lyrics and send them to Watanabe-san. From there he choses the one he thinks is the best, or like [FOUL] and [GANG PARADE], lyrics are made putting together best parts of everyone's lyrics.
- Ballads and Up tempo, is there a genre you are specifically good at?
Can: My word choices are really scarce……. Right after I joined my lyrics were chosen for [FOUL]'s coupling ballad [Close your eyes] but, since then suddenly……. Now there are recent fans who say they never listened to it, so it turned into a rare song.
Tsukino: I still wasn't chosen for 1 song……. It has been 1 year since I joined, I'm giving my best but, valuing rhymes, in screaming places using the “A” sound……. Expressions to insert in sounds are quite hard. The theme too, I decide it myself and write but, I somehow think too much and it's like “Ah-!”, I start to not understand anything and just send it. But, I want to work harder and have something used.
- There's also the deadline, you get in a hurry.
Tsukino: Yes, every time everyone sends lyrics but, sometimes fans ask “Won't you write any lyrics?”………
Kamiya: We are writing, right? (laughs)
Tsukino: We're writing lyrics!
Can: We really are!
The dances you want to copy are also work of members
- The choreographies are also made by the members, right?
Kamiya: Yes. This time around me and Can GP Maika did the choreography for “BRAND NEW PARADE”. We heard the song, there was the factor of being a cheering song, perhaps because it's the first major song, we felt there was the introduction component. In A melody each member sing in turns so it felt like an anime theme song, we focused on that and then expanded the image to make the choreography. Also, we were conscious about making something it would be easy for fans to copy. There's the [GANPARE pose] you do if you point out your thumb, index and middle finger but, as a result among all songs so far it turned out to be the song where GANPARE pose appears the most.
- As a work order, the song is made, then the members write lyrics and record, then the choreography? Recording too, the members sing the entire song, then from there the parts are decided, right? You have the confirmation of your parts listening to the finished product like “So my part is this one”…….
Kamiya: Yes, everyone sings the whole song, and from there Matsukuma-san choses the takes. The choreography, we start to think about its image from the moment we receive the song from Matsukuma-san, before the parts are decided, after the singing parts are decided we change the formation and movements to fit the member who's singing.
Tsukino: Usually Saki-san and Maika-san do the choreography, this time in “BRAND NEW PARADE” too, like there was the key word of being an introduction song, they made the formation so in the A and B melody each member singing had their spotlight, in the chorus we have a variation of a sense of unity, the in between is also a highlight. I think it's really amazing. I always look up to the 2 of them.
[It was like our mother had gone away] The bond that created unity and made them overcome a pinch
- [GANG PARADE] overcame a lot of walls for this major debut. There was also the period when first generation Kamiya-san was absent because she went to another group, in the member trade project among WACK members.
Can: Until then, Saki0chan was GANPARE's core, the choreography and putting members in order, she did a lot of stuff. In the member trade Saki-chan was transferred to the other WACK group [BiS] it was when we just had joined so, it was rather a period the number of new member were bigger.
Kamiya: It was about half a year since you joined, 5 months I think.
Can: Yes, the timing was 5 months after new members had joined. We really wondered what to do, it felt like our mother had gone away. But we started to perceive and act like it would be a good chance for us to grow, the things Saki-chan did for us so far we started to share them naturally among ourselves. It was a good opportunity for each one to grow, the chances for me to do the choreography also increased. Until then I did choreography to one song while really being helped by Saki-chan. We released an album in a situation without Saki-chan, it was a really tiresome period but, I was also able to grow in the same proportion.
- The trade was also announced suddenly. It was real.
Can: When it was announced I was so surprised that tears fell……. I dealt with it in a positive way with other members like “There's nothing but chances”. In this opportunity the talks between members also increased. Saki-chan, who put us in order until then, was gone, furthermore Aya Eight Prince came to [GANPARE] from another group because of the trade. It was a situation we would be disconnected unless we managed to communicate. In order to show GANPARE on the stage, we talked a lot. 6 or 8 hours long conversations in the studio………
- Long! It wasn't like talking in between practice, you had proper discussions?
Can: It was only conversation. When we talked for 6 hours, because we would be on stage in a large number of people, the main purpose was for members to understand each other. Why we started as an idol, then the confirmation of directions. Intention of speech, who we want to become one stage, our roots, I believe there's something we can build because we comprehend each other, so we talked a lot. Since then, if there was or wasn't something happening, from trivial worries to subjects regarding the group, lives, we talked about anything. Since Saki-chan returned there was the chance to go to a lot of places on tour but, there we also talked a lot. I think it's a good thing it became a habit.
Kamiya: We became able to discuss naturally.
So everyone can carry the group – The way [GANG PARADE] shows their back when all members had their own “junior” experience
- Tsuki-san who joined that as a new member, how did you adapt?
Tsukino: A while after I joined I realized that the existing 7 members had a lot of esteem for the existence that new members are. Something that left an impression was when we went to practice soon after the end of the audition since we only had 1 month until our debut. Because the day we had the first practice as 9 members both me and Haruna (Bad Chiiiin) had our recording we were late. When we arrived the mood was terrible….. 6 of them were crying while Yui Ga Dockson was really really screaming…… With a face like “We came in a bad time”, me and Haruna entered really nervous saying “Good morning” in low voice but, it was actually a prank. The 7 greeted us in a very characteristic way saying “It's a lie!”, our anxiousness really fell apart. The 7 seniors took a good balance so the beginners Haruna and I could get used to, moreover they show us a proper senior figure. I feel we're in a really blessed environment.
- In GANPARE all members have the experience of joining as juniors in middle of a group already active. Even original member Saki-san joined [BiS] as a new member, so because you know the feeling of being a junior, perhaps there is something you give more importance because you're conscious about it.
Kamiya: In [POP] era, perhaps there was a period like “this group is Kamiya's” but, being active as [GANG PARADE], more than showcasing myself, there's the sensation that if others do that then we'll improve as a whole. This way I can also be myself, and I believe as a result everyone shines. It feels bad if you don't get to appear now that you finally joined, I'm also happier when girls joining suddenly feel they can properly carry the group. There's also change of members but, I don't want to make a situation where people point to a specific period and say “that era was better”, there's this side of doing things aiming to be a group where “everything was good”.
Tsukino: Listening to this now I really comprehend it. Saki-san tries to make use of everyone's personalities. For example it influences on the choreography. She asks us things like who we want to be?, trying to understand a lot of things, it's healing.
- Can-san too joined as a junior and now is in position of a senior.
Can: Even looking back to it now, Saki-chan let me do a lot of things. She asked me “Don't you wanna try choreographing?”, entrusted me with things to stir up lives, I believe I received a lot of chances to convey to the audience “Can GP Maika is this type of person”. As a senior, I think constantly it's good to make a fun atmosphere to juniors.
- This feeling exudes from currently [GANG PARADE].
Can: Sometimes it gets too lively (laughs). Specially Coco (Parting Coco), Yuyu (Terashima Yuka's nickname), and Dock who are almost peers will get loud like “Waa!”, the seniors (Kamiya) Saki, (Yumeno) Yua, (Yamamachi) Miki will firmly stop it…….. I think it's a good balance (laughs).
- Tsukino-san had a hard time remembering a lot of choreography after joining. You say you don't remember how you were before joining [GANG PARADE] but, did you routine change that much? You took part in [Miss iD] before joining right?
Tsukino: Yes, participating in [Miss iD] was what motivated me to aim to be an idol but, the WACK joint training camp audition was so strong…….. After passing too the days were turbulent, I had the realization I became an idol after my first live at Zepp DiverCity ended and I saw Twitter. Now I go trough busy days, I have a sensation of “If this didn't exist I wonder how I was able to live until now”.
In the midst of getting industry attention
- To continue supporting the major debut energy, the love call from industry is also big.
Kamiya: I'm grateful we got them from HISASHI-san from [GLAY] and Nobu-san from [Chidori]. There has been a connection with HISASHI-san ever since [BiS] era, [BiSH] from the same office as us we the vanguard, so there's a connection from there, Watanabe-san is also connected so it's a built bond, so more than the feeling of receiving a love call, the feeling of gratitude for these connections is bigger.
- You're also getting attention from people on [TRIGGER] anime studio responsible for titles like [Kill La Kill] and [Guren Lagan].
Kamiya: I'm grateful. We worked with the animator Sushio-san back in Planime era but, I didn't think he would get into us this much.
Tsukino: Sushio-san, 5 minutes ago he drew an illustration of a selfie I uploaded on Twitter. Really fast. I'm grateful.
Kamiya: I've liked Sushio-san since before to the point of going to his booth in Comiket. At first the [TRIGGER] screenplay and producer Wakabayashi Hiromi-san got interesed in us, even though I was really happy the opportunity was created, even now I can't quite believe it. HISASHI-san too was commenting on Twitter while watching [Kill la Kill] and Sushio-san was responding in real time, there was a connection. The encounters so far, there were a lot of people who got to know us because of other WACK groups, from there they became [GANPARE] fans but, I want us to built our recognition ourselves, and increase the inverse of knowing other groups because of [GANPARE].
- Is there someone you want to collaborate with eventually?
Kamiya: Yoshiki-san. I was really jealous that [BiSH] got to be on [YOSHIKICHANNEL]. I also want to work with Tamori-san one day. The artists I like are people who make performances that make people happy, I want to become such artists as well.
Can: Because I really like [Hello!Project]-san, I was really jealous that LingLing from [BiSH] got to meet a [HaloPro] member. I like them so much you could say I like them since I was born and we go to concerts together so, one day I want to work with them.
Tsukino: hyde-san. I personally like him but, my father also likes hyde-san a lot, we would listen to him in the car all the way to grandma's house…… Today too I had lunch with my father but, he was listening to him all the time then too. I listen to him ever since I was born. It would be awesome to work together but, I would be happy to meet him someday. I think my father will be happy too.
You can feel the blessing of being able to be “ordinary”
- Did you have that timing of realization that you just had a major debut?
Can: The major debut was announced at “Going Going WACK TOUR” organized by our office but, the amount of authorized people who came to greet us after the live was really amazing……..
Kamiya: It was almost the same amount as if it was a handshake session.
Can: The number of members is also big but, we were surrounded by a bigger number than that…… People who greeted us “I'm OO from...” or people we were like “I know them!”, we came to be in an amazing place. I felt our scale is steadily getting bigger.
Kamiya: The first time we came to the WARNER-san building was the same thing but, whenever something happens I feel “We had a major debut”.
Tsukino: I had the realization of major debut when we filmed for the MV. The number of related people and the scale was completely different. My history isn't long but, I could feel in person the weight of major debut. The number of staff who helps us during lives, the scale of projects, because there are a lot of people supporting us, constantly I'm feeling even more the responsibility.
Kamiya: The biggest moment of realization personally, I don't talk to my mother normally in our house but, she heard it somewhere and was like “you're having a major debut? Congratulations”, she gave me a present for the first time since I became an adult. It was an earring. I was really happy, I felt it was really something good we got a major debut. In activities from now on, I think there'll be all kinds of things that won't be easy to deal with but, the words “congratulations” from my mother, being told that I feel I must work hard. I really think it'll become an axis. Exactly because we don't speak often, a single word from my family was a huge thing.
- Saki-san experienced the major with [BiS], after passing the indie era with [Planime] you are going major again with [GANG PARADE]. Does it feel like coming back?
Kamiya: It's a different feeling from before. In [BiS] I had no experience at all, the blessing of it, I didn't understand at all how things came to be like that. Everything was a first, I joined [BiS] in a really good period so I worked thinking it was normal, that “Ah so it's like that”. After experiencing a disbandment once, I think it's really good I got a major debut after so many years. The things we build ourselves came into shape, it's good that I can think from the bottom of my heart that getting a major debut was possible because Furuki-san and our previous label T-Palette Records (T-Pale for short) were there for us.
A bond like father and daughter with T-Palette Records
- The relation with T-Palette's Minewaki president and Furuki-san was long, right?
Kamiya: We were really in care of T-Palette-san. Even in a situation you wouldn't normally work with a group, no matter what happened they continued with us……. When we went to greet them after our major debut was decided, Minewaki president said while laughing “There was a time we normally wouldn't release something too huh”, even though the president knew about the situation, he trusted and continued with us, my chest was warm. There are a lot of memories with Furuki-san but, one that really left an impression was the day I was put in hiatus. The day I violated prohibited things, even though normally one wouldn't be nice, Furuki-san gave me money to taxi saying “You go home with that”, he walked with me to the back of Fuji Television where [TOKYO IDOL FESTIVAL] was held…… With that I became even more sorry but, at the same time I felt love. I think Furuki-san probably sees and loves [GANG PARADE] more than any member even. He's someone who has been by our side with more feelings than a regular member, so it really feels like a “father”. Before in a niconama transmission there was the comment “GANPARE is leaving dad Furuki and married the son-in-law Ito-san from WARNER].
Tsukino: I really get that.
Kamiya: While it's truth we major debuted under WARNER-san, there's no doubt it's sad we had to be separated from Furuki-san, the father relation won't end hereafter, we might not meet them as often but, I believe it's fate we'll continue like that forever, I have a continuous gratitude feeling. More than being sad with a positive feeling, the several years we were together, I want to repay showing ourselves making a major debut. I want him to become a dad who can be proud as brag “the daughters I raised are doing this things now”. I want to keep showing him a good figure.