Backstage Interview with Momoiro Clover Z & KISS @ Anime Expo 2015
On July 2, 2015 we attended a backstage interview and photo session with Momoiro Clover Z (Momoclo) and the group KISS. This was right before Momoclo took the stage for their concert and KISS would join them to receive the prestigious 2015 “Special Commissioner’s Award” from Japan’s International Short Shorts Asian Film Festival for their music video "Yumeno Ukiyoni Saitemina" in which Sushio from the anime studio Trigger worked on by designing the characters in the animated version of the music video.
What do you expect to see here tonight with the girls performing for their first time here?
Paul: Momoclo are super stars in Japan and the way we came to them is they have a great show and great presence. One thing that separates them from a lot of other international acts is they know who they are and they don't stray from being Japanese. When you see them perform you see elements of geisha, when they are dancing I see sumo, you see all kinds of stuff. They are proud of who they are, spectacular shows, and together we had a huge #1 song. So they are in good company and we are here to welcome them.
Gene: Paul Stanley wrote and produced the #1 song.
Do you think the girls of Momoclo make good members of the KISS army?
Paul: You have to ask them, but I think they are very happy to be members of the KISS army. [Momoclo cheers]
Now that you have done a collaboration with Momoclo and created a Ukiyo-e would you like to see KISS in an anime series or manga?
Gene: Maybe the people didn't explain what we have here is the Japanese Government has issued a Momoclo Z x KISS postage stamp that you can actually buy. So that is what this is, you got the varies elements of the art work so what you will see later is the postage stamp and these are prints that are being sold all over Japan that included classic Japanese culture art crossed with KISS and Momoiro Z.
Congratulations on the anniversary of "Love Gun" and the Marvel Comic. Will they wind up in the 'Rock & Brews' in El Segundo is there a plan?
Paul: If they are Hungry they will do well to go to 'Rock & Brews' we will try to get them go and as far as this art it is known as Ukiyo-e, its the traditional great art of wood carvings and there are some craftsman's and artist that are still doing it. So for us to be incorporated into some of the art its fabulous and there are limited edition ones available and we have some as well.
What is your favorite KISS song?
Kanako Momota: We all like the song we covered "Rock and Roll All Nite" we really like it.
Ayako Sasaki: We were able to hear the song live and were also able to sing it with the band. Its a great song that really hypes you up from the intro
You are about to sing in front of the American fan base, what do you anticipate? Are you girls excited?
Momoclo: Well, we are bringing the same live experience you get in Japan, so I hope that they will have a fun time creating the similar atmosphere.
Just now, I saw a bunch of American fans wearing the Momoclo happi.
Momoclo: Oh Wow! I did learn from KISS that music is without borders, so it be nice for us to bring to America our music to share.
Gene: For those of you who don't know KISS was proud to play Tokyo Stadium [Tokyo Dome] and on the very last two songs the #1 "Seven Samurai" and "Rock And Roll All Night" Momoclo Z joined us on stage in front a huge crowd you should have been there.
Paul: The song is called "Samurai Son."
Gene: What did I say?
Paul: "Seven Samurai"
Gene: I'm old [everyone laughs] Akira Kurosawa.
Shiori Tamai: Akira Kurosawa. [giggles]
The name KISS is synonymous with Rock and Roll and Heavy Metal Rock worldwide once you went to Japan and you left an imprint due to the makeup. Did you ever think that would influence Visual Kei (visual glam rock)?
Paul: We are more synonymous for Rock and Roll so Heavy Metal is a term that came later I think we are Elvis Presley on steroids, we are the Beatles through Marshall amplifiers. We try to do a great show and the makeup has always been about not hiding behind it but exposing more of who we are. There has always been a kinship we always felt with Japan initially they embraced us I think because of the sense of Kabuki and for us its a very kindred spirit. We love going to Japan we been there 11 times and there is no end in sight. Japan is very fertile and very historic and a place that has tremendous culture.
Momoclo what is your #1 hit in America going to be?
Paul: We'll have to write it.
With your first America concert, with KISS playing alongside, what would you like to learn and take back with you to Japan?
Momoclo: The last time we sang with KISS was in Tokyo, so the atmosphere there was more Japanese. This time we are at the home country of KISS, so I hope and wish to learn to create an atmosphere that is enjoyable for the KISS fans and our fans.
May we ask for your impression when you first saw the artwork [for your collaborative song]?
Kanako Momotai: I thought it was very cool
Reni Takagi: I think each group's traits are portrayed very well. It's a piece where once you see it, you'll never forget it. Something that'll show up in your dreams with its great impact. It portrays our personalities very well
Kanako Momota, could you tell us a little bit about your iconic “Shrimp Jump”?
Kanako Momota: The set list does include many opportunities to show the jump. It’s a jump I’ve done since the start, so it will be nice to show it off to my American fans.
Paul: One thing you may not know is that these girls are 65 years old, they are in very good shape.
Paul tell us about the Tokyo Dome appearance with the girls?
Paul: We did Tokyo Dome together, we headline as we always do when we go. The first time we went to Japan we broke the Beatles record for concerts in Budokan and this time we were in Tokyo Dome. It was really an honor for us to include Momoclo with us. We got a chance to play together do perform "Samurai Son". The first thing that appealed to us when we first saw Momoclo was their videos. Their videos are amazing, I think any of you who have seen them, the technology that is used in them and production values are amazing. What they brought is vision for the video, we were proud to collaborate on this video with them.
Gene did you want to make a comment about working with the girls overall?
Gene: The girls are wonderful, there is no reason why they can't make it here and its a pleasure to talk to you people here.
Do you have nicknames for each other?
Paul: We call them Momoclo and they call us KISS.
How do you feel having so many collaboration with huge names such as KISS, Lady Gaga, Marty Friedman in your short 7year career?
Momoclo: Every time we collaborate with an artist, we are always shown how big the world is. So every time I try my best to take in all the experience and make it my own, as well as our own.
Were you able to try In-n-Out?
Momoclo: No we have not gone.
Paul: You asking for In-n-Out?
Momoclo: But we ate steak! it was really good!
Paul, in your book you said that you were bullied and you still over came obstacles to become the super Rock and Roll star you are today. What message do you want to tell your fans that are going through the same thing you went through?
Paul: My biggest message to everyone is as far as i know you only live once and what's more important is that you live true to yourself, be who you are and find people who embrace the beauty in who you are.
Any tips for people who find themselves with no way out?
Paul: Be strong. Life turns out wonderfully if you believe in yourself, take it one step at a time.