Translation by pretty pretty GANG
POP, individual interview Yamamachi Miki part “I believe there's POP exactly because Planime existed.”
Yamamachi Miki, a former otaku who went to lives of POP previous unit, Planime. Successfully passing the audition after Planime switched to POP, she became a POP member herself. But after starting activities in the same stage as Kamiya Saki who she admired, it was announced after only two months Kamiya's indefinite hiatus. Even while saying “I felt despair”, believing in Kamiya's certain return and with a strong will of protecting POP, Yamamachi ran trough POP era with 4 members.
Leaving the current POP after Kamiya Saki returned, Yamamachi Miki is moving towards the next phase. Upon aiming for the top, not having a relation “Kamiya Saki and other members”, it's natural to want their identity recognized as members with 5 different personalities. How will she find her individuality with appeals as Yamamachi Miki when Kamiya Saki in front of her. It might be a transition period but, to POP this transformation is an incredibly important point.
Yamamachi Miki, she started to talk concretely more certain than previous interview.
Data and text: Nishizawa Hiroo
Photos: Ohashi Yuki
As the member in charge of Kamiya Saki I thought I definitely had to protect POP
- It has been around 9 months since you debuted, how Miki-chan feels the current POP?
Yamamachi Miki (under, Miki): Compared to when POP started, I think the way I look at things changed. Concerning myself, I was originally a fan of POP and went to a lot of lives, I was simply chasing after Saki-chan but, being able to stand in a place I can see how Saki-chan thinks and acts behind the scenes, I think my own way of thinking and acting changed.
- After only two months the Saki-chan you admired was put in an indefinite hiatus, how were Miki-chan feelings that time?
Miki: When I first heard about that the feeling of despair was big. Auditioning to POP and joining, everything was thanks to Saki-chan, even standing on stage as Yamamachi Miki she was an essential person, so I wondered what I should do. Even so, I believed Saki-chan would definitely return, I think she was the person who wanted herself to return the most, so as the member in charge of Kamiya Saki I thought I had to protect POP. That's why this despair feeling lasted for just one moment. The 4 months Saki-chan wasn't around, I did things determined to continue protecting POP.
- What are Saki-chan's charm points that fascinated Miki-chan this much?
Miki: Roughly speaking, her humanity. Fufufu. That didn't change from the time I saw her from an otaku's perspective, she's really diligent, really holds herself, she's always thinking about what she can do to show herself. Until now I lived casually halfhearted, I think I was fascinated because Saki-chan is someone who has things I don't.
- Exact opposite to Miki-chan?
Miki: I think so.
- Do you still feel that after actually spending 9 months near Saki-chan?
Miki: I do. Strongly.
- During the 3 months Saki-chan wasn't around, Miki-chan desperatly tried to protect POP. Perhaps this is the part Miki-chan didn't have so far.
Miki: Maybe. It's like I didn't live having such strong feelings, my way of living was halfhearted. When deciding the college too, it felt like anywhere was fine. I play the guitar because I like it but, I don't think about becoming a pro. It was just playing things I wanted to as a hobby. That's why if a musician sees it they'll probably think I'm terrible at it, if I upload videos to SNS people might think “what are you doing?”. In this meaning, there isn't anything I lived having a strong intention about, so the period Saki-chan was around I think I had that.
- In practice, Saki-chan returned and you restarted as 5, is there a part of you that changed the way to think and feel towards POP?
Miki: I don't think I thought about that until now but, by becoming 5 members how will POP be seen, I started to think about those things. Personally too, what should I do to show myself, the feelings of wanting to clear the challenges one by one, they become stronger.
I want everyone to see the being that I am
- While being the member in charge of Kamiya Saki, I believe is also a period to show Yamamachi Miki qualities, what do you think about that?
Miki: Since Saki-chan returned, more than being conscious about being in charge of Kamiya Saki, I believe I started to pay more attention to my individual character. Until now I think there was only the image of “That girl joined because she likes Kamiya Saki” but, it's not good if this image remains forever, so I want everyone to see the being that I am. Since Saki-chan's return, I started to think I want to make it the main point about how I should show myself.
- So, what do you think are the strengths of Yamamachi Miki?
Miki: I've been saying I like singing since forever but, differently from other people I have an unpleasant singing. This weird habit of mine, it's something perhaps you can notice right away when it's me. If I didn't have that I think I would be someone with no special traits, so I want to showcase that. Regarding songs, it might be weird to say I don't want to lose to other POP members but, it's this feeling. A weird singing, I think it's something no one else has (laughs).
- Ahaha. Have you always sang that way?
Miki: Ever since I was the guitar and vocal of the light music club during high school my singing was weird but, not only that doesn't mean I'm good at singing, when I thought about what I could do so people wouldn't notice if I missed the tone, I thought maybe if I potentialize this peculiarity that would go unnoticed. If I put my chin forward just a little, you can't really notice the wrong tone. The strength of the forward chin, people will pay attention to it so, singing that way I started to think some might believe “Isn't she good?” (laughs).
- So, it's a way of singing you came up with after research.
Miki: Might just be so.
- Regarding that singing, doesn't Matsukuma (Kenta)-san says something to you during recordings?
Miki: He says quite a lot (laughs). I'm told to not do the chin thing or something more straight. But the habit is really strong so, to some extent I think it would be OK to fix it. I sing trying to not lose myself too much.
- What was the motive for Miki-chan to start liking to sing?
Miki: Ever since elementary school, I went to karaoke with friends at least once a week. If I had free time it was like let's go to karaoke then, since that time I held a relation with songs so I've always liked to sing.
- Have you done dance?
Miki: I haven't. When we were told during the gym classes “there's dance” I hated it so much.
- But I think Miki-chan is the one using the stage the most.
Miki: Is that so!? Probably because I'm smaller than everyone else, when the stage is low I'm often told people in the back can't see anything at all so, perhaps I'm doing it in order to show the movements bigger. Personally I think it's not enough.
POP wouldn't exist if it wasn't for Planime
- I believe the number of lives outside Tokyo is increasing but, how is to perform in a place you don't know?
Miki: It's incredibly fun. There are a lot of people who come to see POP for the first time, during the special meeting we can do handshakes with people who say “I saw you for the first time”, so that makes me really happy. It's a chance to make POP more known, if those people tell others that it was good POP will spread out even more so, I'm really happy I can perform at other regions.
- From a place of going to see, you became the side to stand on stage, that switch, the view changed a lot didn't it?
Miki: It did. Sometimes I still have something like shyness but, I must switch over and perform properly. Also more than anyone else I can see other Idols from a close distance, I think that unconscious there's something to absorb, so I want to show that too. Exactly because I have the feelings of a otaku, I believe I understand the fans the most, so while having that I must have a completely different feeling when I stand on stage.
- From Miki-chan's perspective of seeing the group since Planime era, it feels Planime and POP are different? Or does it feels that POP exists exactly because Planime existed?
Miki: I believe that because there was Planime, POP exists. Songs as well but, there're the feelings of when it was only 2 members, there are songs and dances. Songs obviously, but dances too we add some movements from Planime era so, in that sense POP wouldn't exist it it wasn't for Planime. That's why I believe there's definitely a connection.
- Miki-chan, as an otaku or performer, you continued to connect opposite opinions.
Miki: It's weird, isn't it? (laughs).
- Regarding POP, perhaps Miki-chan was the one who felt the connection the most. In this meaning, the spirit of Plnaime and POP, it seems like you experience everything from the beginning, like Ms. POP (laughs). By the way, what do you like other than music?
Miki: I have always been an anime otaku. Watching anime, reading manga, playing games at home. I was nothing but indoors, I didn't play outside at all. There's a friend who has a lot of manga, so I would hang out in her house and read manga, we played games together, the influence of this friend is quite strong.
- Essentially you like to enjoy things alone.
Miki: I like being alone.
- Then joining POP was a big change.
Miki: Something like this doesn't happen often (laughs).
- Is there a completion feeling after actually starting activities?
Miki: It's fun. The time alone, I'm definitely influenced by people who otherwise wouldn't influence me, members too but, being it touch with people with completely different personalities is fun. That person is thinking that, I understand from proximity things like the way someone moves. Watching that, perhaps it's better to do this way, I believe there are moments I can look at myself again. In that aspect I'm now affected by a large number of people, I think I was able to experience a different self.
I want to go up more and more and more
- Leaving POP aside, how do you want to live as Yamamachi Miki?
Miki: That's hard… I wonder.
- Saki-chan, while matching the pace of 5 feels like an all star, she said it feels good when the 5 are together.
Miki: Because I don't know myself, I can't say anything. I'm like floating (laughs). I have to be more reliable. That's a part of me I really have to improve.
- Floating might be a characteristic but, it's not about that (laughs).
Miki: Is it ok to float (laughs)? All members have strong characters. Among that I'm the most lightly. Because I have no peculiarities… If I say I'm strong people will say I'm a yankee, right? (laughs). I want to add characteristics.
- What kind of group you want to make POP?
Miki: For now I think there's nothing but aim for the top. I believe everyone thinks the same but, I can't see anything but up. I want to go up more and more and more.
- Going up and up, do you have a specific goal?
Miki: I want to line up with well known artists.
- Not limited to idols?
Miki: Yes. If we work with people from several different genres, I think it'll definitely be fun, and it'll expand POP's possibilities so, I want to work hard.