Following his surprise appearance at PMX, Yukika, the vocalist and only named member of Buddy, sat down with JRockRevolution and answered some of our questions.
JRR: Please introduce yourself.
Yukika: I’m Yukika, the vocalist for Buddy.
JRR: What kind of a band is Buddy?
Yukika: Well, I think in one word I can say we’re a passionate band… we’re intense.
JRR: How did the name of the band Buddy come to be?
Yukika: “Buddy” means friends or companions. But in a different form when it’s spelled “Buddies” it can mean rascals or thugs.
JRR: Oh really? Hmm thugs… like bad kids?
Yukika: Yes, it can mean that way. Though “Buddy” means a companion.
JRR: So you opened the dictionary…
Yukika: Yes, because well I was formerly a bad kid or a menace. And the band name implies that people like this want to gather their “Buddy” or companions too.
JRR: A gathering of thugs?
Yukika: (laughs) Yeah.
JRR: How many members are there in the band?
Yukika: The vocalist, guitarist, bassist and drummer…that makes 4.
JRR: I’ve seen on your official website that you keep the names secret, why is that?
Yukika: Well, I had the intention of starting the band out from scratch, and we decided not to disclose any real names until we feel like it’s the right time. For now we just want to build experience.
JRR: You’ve been doing live shows right?
Yukika: Yes indeed. But we’ve been keeping our names a secret for half a year…
JRR: Any plans of revealing them?
Yukika: Maybe sometime next year.
JRR: Tell me the characteristics of the other band members
Yukika: Characteristics…hmm I don’t think they have any, basically.
JRR: Are they thug-like?
Yukika: Thug-like…instead, I think they’re quite serious.
JRR: What’s the concept behind your visual side and the music side of the band?
Yukika: Well for the visual side, we wear costumes and all but we also perform in jerseys. You know, they call them gangsters overseas. It’s to resemble that.
JRR: Do you wear makeup when you perform like that?
Yukika: Sometimes, and sometimes not.
JRR: All natural?
Yukika: Yeah, recently we’ve been without make up a lot. I feel like we go all out in costumes only when we’re filming.
JRR: How do you determine when and when not to dress up?
Yukika: Just depends on how I feel that day.
JRR: Oh, just going with the flow? Like if you find it to be a hassle one day?
Yukika: Well not so much that we find it a hassle. It depends on the bands we’re performing with. If all of the bands are dressed up in costumes and make up, I think if we’re the one band without it, it’s kind of a way to stand out.
JRR: What made you want to do music?
Yukika: At first, I wanted to learn how to play guitar and when I went to buy a magazine, I saw one with Rolly Teranishi [a well-known glam rocker in Japan] on the cover, I think it was called “Gigs,” I picked it up since I like guitars. Then next to it, I saw the latest issue with HIDE from X JAPAN on the cover…it was that moment that I learned what Visual Kei was. The first band that taught me about music was the Blue Hearts. I love the Blue Hearts…and how the singer is so crazy it seems he’s missing a screw in his head.
JRR: What’s the first CD that you ever bought?
Yukika: Probably “Train, train” by the Blue Hearts…something around there.
JRR: Do you sing that song when you go Karaoke? Do you like Karaoke?
Yukika: I don’t like to sing in front of people.
JRR: You don’t like to sing in front of people?!
Yukika: Well, I actually don’t like Karaoke that much.
JRR: What do you care about most concerning music?
Yukika: When I’m on the stage, my performance is #1. The fans are paying money to come see us, so as a professional I take that to heart. That’s what I feel strongest about. Also, you know those emotions that are hidden inside of you, words you normally wouldn’t be able to spit out, and things you want to say but normally wouldn’t be able to say… on stage, I make it a point to deliver those feelings 100%.
JRR: What’s your best feature as a vocalist?
Yukika: I’d say the gap that I have. Normally I wear glasses and I probably look reserved and quiet. But during our live shows, I change so much.
JRR: Are you wild on stage?
Yukika: Yes, I have footage; it’s the only one that I brought.
JRR: Throughout your time in the band, what’s been the most memorable to you?
Yukika: Well we’ve toured all over the nation but playing in front of a large audience is the most memorable….like in front of 2000 people.
JRR: What’s the most important thing to you right now?
Yukika: I don’t have any siblings; I’m an only child. I’ve always wanted brothers, and so the most important thing to me is my band and band members that I support, and the people who look up to me. Also, the people that I look up to as well. My brothers or my companions are most important to me.
JRR: Do you listen to American music?
Yukika: I listen to a lot of Western music. I listen to Marilyn Manson a lot, and others from time to time.
JRR: Is this your first time in the states?
JRR: What’s your impression?
Yukika: It’s an amazing country.
JRR: What about it?
Yukika: Hmm what is it…it made Japan, or myself feel very small. Yeah, I’m constantly surprised.
JRR: Is there any place you would like to visit?
Yukika: I’m kind of ignorant, and I feel like every place I visit is fresh to me.
JRR: How about Disneyland? Or Guitar Center?
Yukika: Not really. Today we went to Melrose, and we’ve been talking about going to Hollywood once Kaya-san gets here. I don’t think we’ll be going to theme parks since we won’t have much time. It takes a full day to go to Disneyland or Universal Studios. So we enjoyed some shopping today.
JRR: Did you buy anything?
Yukika: I bought a lot of jerseys [track jackets and pants] from Adidas. (laughs)
JRR: Are they for your live shows?
Yukika: Yes, I’d like to wear them on stage.
JRR: Did you buy them for the whole band?
Yukika: No just for myself. (laughs)
JRR: What made you come to America?
Yukika: I was invited by Natsuno-san of CURE. We’ve been in talks before about it, and I was told if I were to continue with my band and reach out to more things, it’d be a great opportunity for me. I released a special edition CD too.
JRR: What are your international plans from now?
Yukika: I’d like to do a show next year, I’ve been talking to Natsuno-san about it.
JRR: Will you be revealing your band members names at that time?
Yukika: Yes, I’d like to announce that.
JRR: Would it be ok if I include your name in the interview?
JRR: Well, there’s only a few months left in 2008, but what would you like to get done in 2008?
Yukika: For now, I’d like to gain a lot of different experiences to prepare for next year, and work even harder next year
JRR: So what are your hopes for next year?
Yukika: I’d like to do a show overseas.
JRR: Finally, please give a message to the rock fans who are overseas.
Yukika: I’d like to let people know that there are bands and artists like myself in Japan. I don’t know when I’ll be doing a show, but I want to go abroad again, so I would greatly appreciate it if you could come out to a show, or an in-store event and show interest.
Interview by Christina
Transcription by Akiko M
Special Thanks to CURE Magazine and PMX