Translated by pretty pretty GANG


Producer Watanabe Junnosuke talks about GANG PARADE turns and twists and current condition pushing on to <LAST>!

WRITTEN BY Tejima Kouji

GANG PARADE finally started moving towards <LAST>-- celebrating the release of their first Blu-ray, this time we take a direct hit towards the producer Watanabe Junnosuke! We asked about the future ahead everyone's wondering about and a lot of other things!


The <REBUILD TOUR> that put together a setlist like a compilation following the history since Planime~POP, was brought to an end on Zepp Tokyo live on September by GANG PARADE. They are in preparations for the profound meaning <LAST GANG PARADE> on the new year but, the entry for this journey given by the same name one man Blu-ray that includes a CD with re-recordings of old songs, it might be a good opportunity to look back to the girls progress once more. This time in order to search from the beginning to the present moving towards <LAST>, we heard from the producer/manager Watanabe Junnosuke who watched over (?) the group.

It's no good if you aren't tied for life


- First, there's the difference from other groups that Planime didn't start in the first place with Watanabe-san main leadership.


“Yes. Just before original BiS disbandment I was making efforts under the surface to find a family for each of them. Among that Kamiya didn't had anything planned, and because my independence was also decided I took over like “Well, let's do something together then?”. When I said “Think how you wish about what you wanna do”, it turned into a conversation wanting to do something together with Mizuta Mari who did Izuneko. Then, at the Namba hatch live during BiS last tour we had a talk with Mari-chan. Because I wanted to announce the plans for everyone at the same time the BiS disbandment, it went forward really at the last moment.”


- There was the statement it was “Produced by Planime”, and a way of view that themselves would do things.


“Essentially it was like that. First there was the dream “I want to do a work influenced by anime”, so we made outfits with blue and red easy to understand in an anime style. The group name “Katakana is good” so, the name Planime came from the girls themselves. Then who thought of the substitute character <Plastic 2 Mercy> was me I think. The direction of the sound was decided by Matsukuma Kenta and myself. Simply because we used a lot of rock rock with BiS it turned like “It could be good if there wasn't a guitar>, we got in accord and came with the plan of using Twenty One Pilot (TOP) we were into at the time as a reference. Because I disliked the partial feeling I over produced BiS, I had the intention of going to the helper side of it. Well, this wasn't good though (laughs)”

- Before you said something about “It was a failure we didn't release an album first”.


“Yes. Since BiS I thought whoever cut well trough the start dash would continue running like that. So, because BILLIE IDLE and Maison book girl started with stages of preparations that took time, I thought Planime should be the first one to go out. Then since <TIF> appearance was also decided, we were in a worry to make it work anyhow.”


- The debut was on 8/2 at <TIF>.


“Yes. Thereupon, we made a single easy to produce. Well, I can say it now because I saw several potentialities but, if there's an album with a lot of songs first you can see the direction from there, to have the album bought first, everyone will listen to it and come to like it, from there a main song will be born, right?”


- Original BiS and BiSH too, new BiS and EMPiRE all started with an album. From the listener perspective feels like makes it easier to embrace and contemplate it.


“That's right. BiS and BiSh too were said to have main songs in the album, that's probably because the songs were raised together with the fans. Not building this situation was really a failure.”


- Later most of the songs that entered the album “P.O.P”, were compiled around the time the single “Plastic 2 Mercy” was released on September.


“Because there was the first one man live at Shelter on October we rushed to make 10 in time. But, it was hard for the audience and ourselves to feel empathy towards the songs…… thinking about it now, that is. In the beginning of the year we released “UNIT” next, then there was Mari-chan withdrawal. That too is a TOP homage song, though they are singing about the bonds of the unit.”


- The MV they climbed a mountain too.


“Climbing a mountain too. We conveyed our wishes of “It's no good if you aren't tied for life” but, well…….”


- Well, you saw the difficulties during the stages of construction.


“That's right. Tokyo and Osaka are far apart, as expected there wasn't a mutual understanding, I think it was hard for the both of them. Also probably, they thought it would go well faster. I's something that can't be helped though.”


- There was the image of both BiS and Izuneko ending the moment they were ascending.


“Yes. We too if I had to say it, didn't experience anything but increasing mobilization, it was the first time there was a reduction. Among that perhaps the feelings didn't follow. No matter what there were also a lot of fans expecting something like BiS.”


- Around the same time BiSH also started.


“That is right. It was announced on January. Before that I feel I got angry at when I talked to Kamiya “I will make BiSH with the theme of making BiS one more time”. Well, in the end I thought it was a <Watanabe mark> so I wanted to do it. Even so back then I didn't think BiSH would success, on the other hand I feel like I asked “Won't you join BiSH too?” but, I feel Kamiya refused it obstinately. Well, she might say <you didn't brought it up> though (laughs)”


- At the same time of Mari-san withdraw it was also announced the recruitment of new members both male or female.


“The 2 of them were hurt, there wasn't a split by fight so, I send Mari-chan <You can start activities whenever you like>. Then, Kamiya was in a state of <I can't think about anything> so <Well, let's gather members one more time and make a group>. But I was indecisive about making a girl group again, in my opinion, if you are going to change then change it completely. I also thought that if there was a good one it was possible to add a boy and make it like AAA?. But, there wasn't.”

Is this group OK?


- As a result, 4 girls joined and became POP.


“I chose them with Kamiya. Adding Yamamachi Miki who was just a Kenkyuuin (BiS fan), it was audacious (laughs). Then, as expected BiSH was going upwards so then we made a confrontation marathon with POP, personally I thought it was a good debut. We wanted to make a synergy like while watching BiSH people would also get to know POP members but……. Regardless of BiSH losing the battle, there was a tearjerker story waiting. Then after it ended Kamiya got angry like <what's that even though we won>. I tspoke too like <This isn't the question is it?> but, from Miki and Yumeno Yua's perspective it was the worse, like <Is this group OK?> (laughs). Well, it was the time me and Kamiya's relation was on it's bad climax. That would tie to <TIF Incident> with Kamiya diving in the audience.”


- There was parts brought up by insufficient communication.


“Well, I too didn't show my face much, after <TIF>, at POP first one man at UNIT it was announced Kamiya was suspended but, I didn't go to that either. Then I joined just for the get together party after, Sato-san from live works got incredibly angry at me <You, even if you don't get along, it's no good if you don't show up>.”


- Ah, you got angry at (laughs).


“Yes. I was also immature, I really reflected on that. What I was sad about <TIF> incident wasn't the movement towards the audience, it was the fact they simply seemed to think only about themselves. By consequence BiSH didn't participate in <TIF> either. Everyday I would call the members and their parents and talk what would be of POP from now on?….. It really didn't go well (laughs). With outfits like sauna suits and jersey, thinking about it now it was terrible but, that time we didn't had any money so we couldn't make outfits.”


- But, it didn't die at that.


“That's right. Even in a bad time thanks to T-Palette we were able to release CDs in fixed intervals. Then the first turning point was “Happy Lucky Kirakira Lucky”.”


- It was a release after Saki-san ran a 100km marathon coming back. The image from the beginning and the song melody also changed 180º.


“I wanted to changed it completely, then for the first time I supported it. Let's make an outfit, let's have colors decided, thinking about a differentiation from BiSH, well <let's become like Momoclo and Denpagumi>…… if I even can say that but (laughs). That time we shook a lot of stuff, only in “Happy Lucky Kirakira Lucky” the <Produced by Matsukuma Kenta> disappeared. We asked Ichiro from SCRAMBLES to make it. Then, the next one “QUEEN OF POP” we came back to Matsukuma Kenta. Both songs were good but we ended up straying (laughs).”


- Then, on 2016/6 the name was changed to GANG PARADE.


“The one who said it was Kamiya. Seeing BiSH state of major debut, in order to get POP up somehow she said <I want to change name as a triggering explosive>, <indeed the fate might be bad> (laughs). So we all talked <Let's make a completely different name>, with options like <CANDY PLACE> and <BLACK THUNDER> there was also <GANG something> or <something PARADE>, and we decided like <Isn't it good to put those together?> <The abbreviation is GANPARE, that's good>. However, from there again…….”


- Right after the first single with the name change “WE ARE THE IDOL” it was announced the withdraw of Shigusawa Ao, she left at <TIF>.


“Around this time BiS was also created again. When I talked about it with Kamiya, I think I received like 10 shoulder punches. Therefore, a lot is my fault (laughs).”


- An unstable situation continues, on September Inukai Maaya went absent.


“The way I'll say it it's not good but, maybe they entered a give up mode. It was no doubt they simply weren't getting a proper income, so of course there's the argument to resign if not receiving it. Our ability is what we'll do from there to go upwards but, continue even during bad times has to do with confidence in one another so, it's really difficult. Thinking about it now, Yua and Miki bear it really well, during times of instability Maika too joined bringing a dream.”

Isn't this a miracle?


- During the August audition, Can Maika-san joined and until her debut the 3 continues activities.


“The impression that GANPARE was the best in September <@JAM x NATALIE EXPO> still remains. Compared to BiSH or BiS there weren't fans at all but, the 3 of them showed a really good live, <Ah, I really must to this right>.”


- That is obvious (laughs).

“I remember well thinking about this (laughs). The, after that. There was the major incident of the 1 day annihilated SiS joining.”


- I believe the summary is portrayed in the documentary “WHO KiLLED IDOL? -SiS annihilation song-”. A reality just like a movie was made into a movie (laughs).


“<The reality is this amazing> (laughs). When SiS were annihilated I didn't think about it but, two days later when I was getting off the elevator the SiS colleagues were right in front of me, they said they came to to see the place the agency was. They started to say <Isn't this a miracle?> (laughs). I said <No no, you all came here so it's not a miracle>. However, because the day SiS disbanded I promised I would take them to eat yakiniku, I said <Well, let's go to yakiniku the day after tomorrow> and made them go back. Then, indeed they were forcibly pulling it but, we did meet, after I sent them back I remained gloomy. But, it's not on someone's hand, it's impossible to make something else, then I thought <Hm? Isn't it ok to put them in GANPARE?>, first I made a phone call to Kamiya <What do you think?>. Then, Kamiya was also receptive. So, when I met SiS at yakiniku and they said they wanted to do something, I made a counter proposal <How about joining GANPARE?> and it was decided. Maika had just joined, I understand Yua and Miki's feeling of <Even though we decided to work hard as 4> but, I wanted to make the BLAZE one man a triggering explosive, Kamiya built a Sparta within Sparta atmosphere, making them practice severely for 1 month. At first it was obviously awkward but, after it ended the members themselves relaxed a little. Even looking at the audience state, I had the feeling the pressure was turned upside down, I thought <Ah, it might work>. Also, because I incredibly superstitious, the reason I was in their first artist photo with 7 members, is because I wanted to emulate early BiSH.”


- After the first single as 7 members “Plastic 2 Mercy” was released, Watanabe-san got more involved with it, perhaps the members too might have gotten relieved like <Ah, we're being pushed>.


“Ahaha. That's probably it. In the in-store event at the end of the year I danced <P2M> with them. Maybe I had the sensation in a long time that I was doing like the old BiS. Also, we aimed at people knowing the members character with the one coin single, that was also a success.”


- Since approximately that time with the marathon or the sound, seemed like everything tied well with member's characters.


“It really became a nice feeling”. After that during the training camp audition Yua came forward, the feeling of everyone cultivating their characters in the team, perhaps it was something born exactly because the 3 SiS joined. Among that Kamiya is someone straight forward, to where she'll fall, if there's a time she'll collapse the wrong way when troubles, there are also times she shows a leadership of attacking the situation like an army. That's why, the girl is a key point.”


- The trade between Saki-san and BiS Aya Eight Prince, it continued for a long time from 2017/5 until March this year.


“Making the subject completely about GANPARE, it was a measure to rise their popularity one more step like a camphor. The trade itself was thought for a while but, announcing it in the training camp would get the most attention. <If you don't make a leap what will you do> in a situation like that, reversely I wanted to make Kamiya go away once.”


- As a result it also became good to BiS.


“I wanted to see GANPARE's growth but, Kamiya forged the BiS newcomers. Well, surprisingly it was mutually good so I extended it but, there was an effect greater than I expected, it was interesting.”


- By the way, later I thought perhaps the footage of “FOUL” happening in the same place as “pretty pretty good” was because of previous notice that Saki-san would leave.


“Ah, it was a coincidence, that's not really interesting though (laughs).”


- So that's it. Also, you were caught in the influence of TOP at first but, after they became 7 it spread the dynamic image of the sound being like 30 seconds to mars or Hi-STANDARD.


“In the beginning it was a period me and Matsukuma Kenta were both into TOP completely so we aimed at that. However, both of us got bored so, we're currently in a spiral going towards the next obsession. In reality GANPARE doesn't have a color, there's the image within myself they can face several challenges, “FOUL”, “Beyond the Mountain too” were considerably innovations so we were excited in the development.

The love towards GANPARE


- Yes. A lot passed and currently is a 9 member formation but, what kind of like was the Zepp Tokyo final that will become a Blu-ray?


“If I had to say one thing, it was a live I could feel the love towards GANPARE. It was a live I thought all members must really like GANPARE, like becoming one I believed is the greatest within WACK. This time we'll gather footage, and made a production unusual in our agency but, I'm quite into the girls present condition, including Tsukino Usagi's MC they made me feel empathy. Tsukino's MC was good to the point of crying, it properly connected with “CAN'T STOP”, I thought <She makes a good production, Tsukino-san> (laughs).”


- The effects of Tsukino-san and Haruna Bad Chiiiin joining were big.


“Lately there are a lot of times I think the girls brought a favorable wind. It feels like it has to do with timing and also luck but, looking back at it now in this conversation, I surely think <Thank you for believing> to Yua and Miki. Obviously Kamiya too but, probably if the 2 of them weren't there I think Kamiya's mid might have broken too.”


- That's something you think in this situation.


“I really think <You supported nicely>. That's why it feels like Yua and Miki surely are the greatest responsible for GANPARE existing now…… That's bad, I said that and got emotional, with myself (laughs).”


- Well well, like that it became a conversation like LAST but……. In the beginning of the year the album at last.


“Yes, it's not appropriate to the name “LAST GANG PARADE”……. Or is it appropriate? In a long time it's an album everyone made together having fun. Without limitations doing whatever pleases, I think there are songs that might quite extract a nerve. Also, the lead song is amazing. To me it's extremely emotional but, actually we were able to ****** *****'s *****.”


- This is quite something but, perhaps it's best not to write it (laughs).


“I really wanted to say it so I couldn't help it (laughs). There's this lead song, there's another song composed by a member, there are a lot of songs with weird lyrics (laughs). An atmosphere inexistent so far, it also unites with the world view the recent coupling songs have been creating, I think it'll become a new amazing GANG PARADE. I would like everyone to look forward to it.”