Japanese all-girl metal sensations Band-Maid are heading out on their first European headline tour later this year, and we just have no idea what to expect. After Babymetal took the UK (and the rest of the world) by storm, could these five girls follow in their rather impressive footsteps? And what makes them stand out (other than the gothic maid outfits)? We had a quick chat with lead vocalist Miku Kobato to find out…
For those who don’t know about Band-Maid, what are you about?
“Band-Maid’s concept is about creating contrast – how we look and how we sound are worlds apart. One is cute and submissive in nature, the other is wild, powerful and dominant. I thought that idea was interesting. Basically, we want to defy expectations.”
How would you describe Band-Maid’s music?
Where did you get the idea to use maid outfits?
“I used to work in a maid café! I would wear cute uniforms every day and entertain our customers, who we call masters and princesses. At the same time I was really into metal and rock music, and I thought how different the two worlds were. Here I am at work, singing super cute songs to a milkshake – it’s how we make them extra tasty – but on the way home I have my headphones in, blasting Maximum The Hormone. I thought that it would be cool to combine cute uniforms with cool music, so I set about recruiting the members of Band-Maid.”
Maid outfits aren’t exactly rock ‘n’ roll. What is your ultimate heavy metal costume?
“Now Band-Maid’s outfits are part of rock n roll, so we pick these!”
You’ve released three albums in three years, where do your ideas keep coming from?
“We want to make more exciting records. We have so many ideas that we just keep unleashing them and see what happens. Coincidentally, today is our third year anniversary! We want to keep going, pushing further and further.”
People in the UK know about Babymetal, but Band-Maid are relatively unknown. How are Band-Maid different to Babymetal?
“We play our own instruments.”
Is there any competition between Band-Maid and Babymetal?
“We don’t feel that we are rivals, we have huge respect for Babymetal. To see a Japanese act work so hard and be recognised outside of Japan by so many respected musicians and fans – it’s amazing. We can only hope that one day our determination gets us anywhere near that level of recognition.”
Your music videos have received millions of views, do you get recognised in the street?
“Nope! Would be lovely if we did though! Maybe I should wear my maid uniform next time I pop out to get ramen…”
You’re heading to Europe in October, have you visited Europe before?
“Only the UK so far! We were invited to do a serving at MCM London Comic Con in May of this year. It was so fun! We did three performances throughout the weekend and many thousands of masters and princesses came to see us. When we weren’t on stage we were at JPU Records’ booth signing autographs. Then we had a quick celebratory beer (I had Boddingtons, it was delicious) and flew back to Japan.”
What are you most looking forward to about the UK?
“We’re looking forward to hearing the noise of British masters and princesses.”
Why should people listen to Band-Maid?
“We’re not a pop idol group! Don’t judge us on how we look. We want to blow you away with our heavy rock sound.”
Band-Maid will tour Europe at the following dates:
12 October: The Underworld, London, UK
13 October: MTC, Cologne, Germany
15 October: Headcrash, Hamburg, Germany
16 October: La Boule Noire, Paris, France
19 October: Hydrozagadka, Warsaw, Poland