After all of MYM’s appearances and show at Anime Boston, we were able to conduct an interview via Skype that Sunday night.
Once greetings were out of the way Shion (Cure Media USA) just had to impart how much food they all ate for dinner. With six people at the table the group, MYM included, managed to nearly polish off a 3-course meal designed to feed eight people! Shion claimed it was mostly MYM.
After a series of giggles and chuckles the interview went underway.
Can you describe what sort of experience you have had working with the fellow members of GagaalinG?
MYM: GagaalinG was actually focusing on promoting themselves outside of Japan so we went to Thailand together and Los Angeles (USA). I, myself, went to China to perform. So, we had a lot of good experiences touring outside of Japan, a lot of good memories.
Since the beginning of GagaalinG, the band has been active internationally as well as had songs featured in anime. With everything you have done are there any moments you remember most fondly?
MYM: The most enjoyable things were anime conventions. I really could see the cosplayers. Real cosplayers outside of Japan. It was the most fun thing.
What did you think of the Cosplayers in Los Angeles when you were there?
MYM: I wanted to do Naruto cosplay and all of the members were so surprised that Americans really did the cosplay, like hardcore.
Has there ever been a moment, whether with your band or with modeling, that you now sit back and laugh about when you think on it?
MYM: In Japan for a live I was really excited and somehow I threw my mic stand and mic from the stage. The stage was really high, and I am kind of small. I didn’t have to get the mic stand because there was staff, but I did not know how things worked at a live venue because it was my first performance. So I just jumped off the stage to get it. So the band was still playing, but I had just disappeared. So everyone was like, “What?” and so they stopped playing and now it’s just a funny experience.
It was a learning experience.
Many Jrock and Visual Kei bands use their outfits or costumes as ways to shock or gain the attention of their fans. With GagaalinG’s outfits, there isn’t so much a shock value, but more of a fashion value to them. Each outfit suits each member as though they were models for what they are wearing. Aside from the band h.Naoto, is there an underlying concept in the bands image that influences each of the band members looks? Or is there a separate inspiration from look to look?
MYM: As you said, for GagaalinG, the visual is not Shock Rock style, but more fashionable. We want to be more fashionable than the Shock Rock style. I am the one that handles the bands costuming for all the members. So, I created the concept for everyone.
For MOTO, the guitarist, his concept is more the U.K. gentleman’s style. He has to have the look of The Clockwork Orange, an old school Western European gentleman. For JUN, the bassist, he should have the punk rocker style. Cherry, the Drummer, his concept is a pirate. Like the Pirates of the Caribbean. For Myself, I concept is fashionable, so I am like a fashion model. So each member has a different fashion style.
Ah, that is cool and helps with my next question. Since fashion plays a part in your role as a vocalist as well as being a model, are there elements of the fashion world that transcend to your music or lyrics? If so, how?
MYM: Because, I am a model, I have to wear clothing that I don’t like. I prefer more like rock, punk, or gothic style. But, sometimes I have to wear cute Lolita or girly girly stuff. So, singers, they have to make songs that are new style. They can’t always make the same song. So, when I make a new song it is kind of like wearing [as a model] clothing that I have never worn in my entire life. To me, making new music or songs is like wearing new fashion.
Wow, interesting, I never considered it like that. Now, your music is described as Japanese Gothic Boom. Can you describe what “Gothic” means to you and how you represent the idea in your lyrics?
MYM: My concept is more abstract. So I don’t have an exact image, like it must be this one or it must be that. For me, gothic is always dark and has a cross on it. Gothic also needs to be like old architecture. So the gothic fashion needs to look older in style and the music needs to be darker. So, the music is dark, but still there are some bright parts to it.
In the evolution of music and lyrics for GagaalinG, what aspects have remained the same and what has changed?
MYM: When we started as a band, we didn’t want to change our concept. We had our own way and we didn’t want to be influence by anything. But, we started performing outside of Japan and saw many different worlds. So we started thinking that we may need to change our concept and try different things or different ways.
What we never wanted to change was making music with honest feelings. All people have a positive and a negative side, no one has only positive or only negative. So, we always focused on both, the good and the bad to make honest music.
Sometimes there are English Lyrics in GagaalinG’s songs, is there a reason you blend both Japanese and English when conveying music?
MYM: We thought to promote outside of Japan, so that was one reason we put English. The second reason is because the sound is kind of cool. Sometimes English matches better than Japanese lyrics.
You’ve now been to the Southwest and the Northeast of the United States. Are you noticing any differences between the two areas?
MYM: I don’t really see a difference between them. U.S. people are U.S. people. But, I do see a difference between the U.S. and Japan audiences.
Ah, have you had a chance to go shopping at all in Boston?
MYM: There hasn’t been time for shopping, but I did get to do a little site seeing.
Well, that is too bad. Boston is one of the well known places in the U.S. for fashionable shopping.
MYM: Ash, then I am coming back again.
If you could perform or model anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
MYM: Ehh…Boston. [Laughter] Also, I haven’t been to Europe yet, so anywhere in Europe. But, Boston would be good.
What experiences from modeling have you most enjoyed and what have you least enjoyed?
MYM: I attended a Tokyo Collection as a model from h.Naoto. At that time, I had to wear Lolita. Like, super girly and cute Lolita. Normally, I am more of a punk rocker, so I like punk rocker things. But, I had to be a model for h.Naoto, so I had to wear it. Since everyone knew I like more punk style, everyone was laughing at me and calling me ‘Lolita Girl’. So everyone kind of hurt me. But, from that fashion show, I also got really good comments from everybody. So that was actually a good and bad experience.
[Interviewers note: I am so glad that story ended well! I was feeling horrible while it was told even though there was giggling over it.]
Has it been easer or harder than you thought to balance the two careers? Has one taken precedence over the other from time to time?
MYM: Actually, it wasn’t that difficult. I have had so much fun doing both careers. At the same time, fashion relates to the music industry. Also, models are a type of performer, not a musician type of performer, but still a performer. I like to be a performer and I can perform as a musician and a model. It’s what I wanted to do, so I am having so much fun doing both.
Aside from music and modeling, if you could add another interest or profession, what would it be and why?
MYM: I would want to be an Okami, the face of a traditional Japanese hotel. It is actually a part of the Japanese traditional culture. Since I am Japanese and living in Japan, I feel it is my responsibility to follow the traditional culture. Also, an Okami is, kind of a performer. This is because they need to speak with, entertain, and take good care of customers. So it relates to a musician’s role. I would have to entertain and make sure customers are happy.
[Okami: More or less translates as the Hotel Manager. Often times the Okami is either the owner of the traditional Japanese inn, or the owner’s wife. They are more or less the hotels representative, its “face”. Not only within the hotel, but outside of the hotel, in business situations as well as with the community.]
And finally. Would you like to leave a message for your fans?
MYM: GagaalinG is a good band, so if you like Jrock and you have a chance to listen to us, please listen.
JrockRevolution.com would love to thank Shion and Akie of Cure Media USA for providing the opportunity to interview MYM, as well as thank MYM for sitting through the interview despite how tired she was!
Interviewer: Jen M
Interpreter: Akie (Cure Media USA)
Edited by: Ali W.