Starmarie Interview @ AX 2013

Starmarie Interview @ AX 2013

While at Anime Expo 2013, we got a chance to interview unique J-Pop artists STARMARIE whose group features three members Shino Takamori, Nozomi Kishita and Shiori Aoki. Known mostly for their dark, fantastical twist on the J-POP genre in Japan, these girls straddle both the lighter and darker sides of music with their original lyrics and creepy/cool-style dance moves. Fresh off the release of their second album, "Fantasy World 2," learn all about their individual personalities and backstories as we interview them after their US live debut concert.

T-ONO: First could you please introduce yourselves, and describe yourself in one word?
T-ONO: では、まず皆さんに軽く自己紹介をお願いします。それともし自分を一文字で表すのならどの文字で表しますか?

Shino: My name is Shino, if I would to describe myself in one word it would be "smile" because many people tell me I have a great smile.
Shino: お名前は紫乃です、自分のことを一言で表すのなら私は笑顔が良いといわれるんで、「笑」という漢字一文字です。

Nonchan: I'm Non-chan! If you write my name in Kanji, it uses the Kanji for "hope" so I think I would describe myself as "hope."
Nonchan: のんちゃんです、自分を一文字で表すなら望(のぞみ)っという名前なんですけど、希望の望でのぞみなのでその字(「望」)かな?

Shiori: I am Shiori, Starmarie's dance and I am pretty weird, so I guess if I describe myself in one word it would be "weird."
Shiori: 栞です、Starmarieのダンスも私の性格もちょっと変わっているので、一文字で表すなら「変」で。

T-ONO: How did you form the group Starmarie, and where did you get the name from?
T-ONO: スターマリーという名前はどうやって選んだのですか?

Shiori: We had a lot of choices for the group name, so the other ex-members of Starmarie, the producer, and I discussed it and chose Starmarie because it sounded good. So yes, we chose this name just because it sounded good and no particular reason. We were formed in 2008, 5 years ago and there was 2 other people other than me in the group. However two of the members quit, and a month later Nozomi joined and later Shino joined. That's how we were formed the group we have today.

Shiori: グループの名前はいくつか候補があって、今初期メンバーじゃないんですけど、初期のメンバーの中と社長と話あってStarmarieというのは響きがいいというだけのフィーリングだけなんですけど、それで決まりました、意味よく効かれるんですけど、意味はまったくないです。結成したのは2008年で五年前なんですけど、その時はメンバーが3人で私と後二人他のメンバーがいて、それから色々1ヶ月で望が入ってきて、その後紫乃が入ってきて今の3人の体制になりました。

T-ONO: It's been 5 years since you debuted, has your style in music changed? If so, how?
T-ONO: 2008年から5年もたっていますが、昔と比べて曲調は変わりましたか?もし変わっているのでしたら、どういう風に変わりましたか?

Shino: In the beginning, we were a brighter and happier group. Our group has a title of being "The fantasy unit," so we were making songs that were upbeat and sounded happy. However, we now make songs that are darker fantasy themed. A lot of the people die in our lyrics or gets cursed. Some of our songs are about haunted mansions. The imagery of the songs became significantly darker, and even our performance has changed. Before we were dancing like the everyday idol with cute dance moves. Now people tell us that our dance is "unique" and we are performing dance that is between creepy and cool. So yes I think we have changed a lot in this 5 years.
Shino: 最初のほうは明るいハッピーな、私達はファンタジーユニットという名前がついているんですけど、すごいハッピーの意味でのファンタジーで曲調も歌詞も明るいイメージだったんですけど、今はすごいダークなファンタジーなイメージの曲が多くて、結構曲の中で人が亡くなってしまう、呪われてしまったり、お化け屋敷の曲があったりとか、結構ダークなイメージの曲がすごく多くなってきて、フリも昔は結構アイドルっぽいかわいらしいフリだったんですけど、今はちょっと変わってるねって言われる気持ち悪い、格好いいの間ぐらいの結構すごい変わってるって言われるダンスをしていて、結構変わったと思います。

T-ONO: I heard this is your first time in L.A. Are there any particular places you want to go?

starmarie-2Shino: We actually went to Hollywood. We've always dreamed of going, and it was really fun!I love Disney and we found a Disney Cafe in Hollywood and I was so happy! I saw Donald Duck's foot print and that just made my day.

Nonchan: There were so many autographs of famous actors, just like what we saw on TV and got me excited!
Nonchan: 有名な俳優さんのサインいっぱいあって、テレビで見る光景を見れて大興奮しました。

T-ONO: So does that mean you feel like you've accomplished your goals in L.A?

Shiori: Oh wait, I haven't still eaten a big American size hamburger yet! [laughs]
Shiori: あ、でも後はおっきいハンバーグを食べたいですね!(笑)

T-ONO:What was your first impression meeting your fans in the US? How are they different from the Japanese fans?

Nonchan: Well, first when we got up on stage, everybody was really quiet, so I was worried if they would be mean to us, but when we started MCing, people cheered "yeah!" and "Woooh!" and I felt that's an American thing and made me happy. Also it surprised me when I saw a few people do "Ota-gei"(Japanese otakus' cheering dance). I realized how much Japanese culture is getting known in the United States and I was happy that people are getting to know Japan more.
Nonchan: そうですね、すごい最初出たときに皆さん静かだったので、なんか冷たかったらどうしようって思ってたんですけど、私がMCをしているときに「イエーイ」とか「ヒュー」とか言って下さって、そういうのってアメリカならではと思うので、そういうのがすごくうれしかったし、現地の方たちがすごいヲタ芸を踊ってて、それがすごいびっくりしました。日本の文化がここにも来ていると思って、すごいうれしくなってよかったです。

Shiori: Also when we shook hands with the fans, Japanese people are usually pretty shy, but the people over here were so friendly, it felt like I were there friends already and felt joyful.
Shiori: 握手とかのときも、日本の方って恥ずかしがりやの人が結構多いんですけど、こっちの方はすごいフレンドリーで明るくて、なんか昔から友達だったような気持ちになるぐらいすぐ仲良くなれそうで、うれしかったです。

T-ONO: Now that you have seen an American anime convention, how do you feel seeing these people interested in Japanese culture?

Shiori: I have heard it before that anime was getting popular in the US but I didn't really believe it until I saw it with my own eyes. It made me happy seeing people interested in our culture and when people talked to us in Japanese and told me anime made them interested in studying Japanese, it made me happy!
Shiori: 初めてみたんですけど、こんなに日本のアニメが広がっているのを目の当たりにして、話は聞いていたんですけど、すごいうれしくなりましたし。なれない日本語を一生懸命みなさんがたくさん話しかけてくれたり、アニメが好きで日本語勉強しているんだという方が結構いらっしゃったりですごいうれしかったです。

Nonchan: Seeing people not Japanese dressing up as a character that I know from an anime was just exciting! It was really fresh to me!
Nonchan: なんか自分が知っているアニメのキャラクターの格好をしている外国人の方を見るのがなんかすごい、おおおーー!とすごいなーとすごい新鮮でした。

Shino: The surprising thing is that there were people who dressed up like a normal Japanese student in uniform and wearing school uniforms.
Shino: びっくりしたのが、日本の学生の格好した方がいたり、なんかあのう、日本のアニメにあるスクール水着を着ている方がいてびっくりしました。

T-ONO: In all the songs in Starmarie, which songs do you think best represent yourselves?
T-ONO: Starmarieの曲でどの曲が一番自分たちにをあらわしていると思いますか?

Shiori: Well we didn't perform it today, but the song "Namida no Pan koujou Konseru ・ Kamata" I think would be the song that represents us. It's one of the songs that people get crazy when we perform in Japan and it was the song that changed our style into a darker fantasy style. The song is about a couple who eloped but got into an accident and dies. However after they die they became ghosts and opened a bakery. This song itself has a real dark image to it and I feel that shows us as Starmarie.
Shiori: えーっと、今日はやらなかったんですけど、「涙のパン工場コンセル・カマタ」という歌があって、その曲からすごいダークの方向に行くきっかけになった曲があるんですけど、日本のライブでは一番ぐらいに盛り上がってみんなが騒いでくれる曲なのでそこから自分たちの路線がすごいダークの方向に決まっていたのかなという所あって。歌詞がかけおちした二人がそのバスで事故で亡くなってしまって、その後に幽霊になってパン工場を経営してるという歌なんですけど、その歌詞自体がダークなんでそういうところが自分たちを表しているかなと思います。

Nonchan: Umm, I think the song we performed today "Mitsuboshi Restaurant Paul kara no Shoutaijyou" (The Three-Starred Restaurant/ Paul's invitation) would describe us. It's also the first song we shot the PV (promotional video) for and the PV for that is pretty weird too. We become dolls in the video and we wore different wigs when we shot the video and that was my first time doing any shoots like that. In Japan if you hear Starmarie, it's usually this song, so I think this song represents us the most.

Shino: Yeah I think "Mitsuboshi Restaurant Paul kara no Shoutaijyou"(The Three-Starred Restaurant/ Paul's invitation) would best represent us too. I felt like this song boosted Starmarie and changed our image completely. We actually had a 1 month break, and this song was the song we worked on during that break and it was a great hit. People told us we changed in a good way and congratulated us for it so I have good memories about this song too.
Shino: はい、私も「三ツ星レストラン・ポールからの招待状」という曲が私達をあらわしてるなと思っていて、この曲をきっかけにStarmarieがスピードアップしていったというか、イメージがすごいがらっと変わったといいますか、1ヶ月休業期間がありまして、その休業期間で一生懸命鍛えてその語のステージに備えてがんばった曲が「三ツ星レストラン・ポールからの招待状」で1ヶ月の休業後に発表したんですけど、その曲を発表したときの皆さんの反応がすごい良かったのを覚えてて、すごいスターマリー変わったねって祝ってもらえたのがあの曲なのですごい思い出もあります。 starmarie-3

T-ONO: What made you want to become an idol? Also who inspired you to become an idol?

Nonchan: Since I was little, I loved idol groups especially Morning Musume, and I always dreamed of being in that bright and wonderful world of an idol. I wanted be an idol where people see me and talk about how great the dancing is or which songs they like. So that is why I became an idol.
Nonchan: 私は小さいときからアイドルグループが大好きで、ハロープロジェクトさんのモーニング娘。さんがとても小さいときから好きでこういうきらきらした世界になんか自分も入っていきたいなと思ってみんなにこの曲いいとかダンスが素敵と思ってもらえる存在になりたいと思ってそういうのがきっかけでこの世界に入りました。|

Shiori: When I first started in this industry, I didn't want to be a singer so I don't really have anyone that inspired me to be an idol. However, when I was little in about elementary school, I was a really shy girl. I started going to dance lessons and started to talk with the dance teacher a lot and became much more outgoing. Since then, I started to express myself more and became an idol.
Shiori: 私はもともと最初にこういう芸能活動を始めたときに歌手になりたいという目標がなかったので、影響された歌手の方とかはいないんですけど、小学生ぐらい時からすごい人見知りで人前でしゃべるのとかすごい苦手とかだったんですけど、その時にダンスを習い始めて、そのダンスの先生と接しているうちにすごい明るい、自分の意見をバシバシ言っても大丈夫みたいな気持ちになったので、それからは積極的に芸能活動とかもしていくようになってもっと自分のことを表現していきたいなというきっかけになりました。

Shino: Me too, I don't have anyone that inspired me. Originally since I was small, I really wanted to be a nurse. I didn't want to be anything else but a nurse and even went to a high school for nursing. One day when I was watching YouTube, there were a bunch of videos people posted of themselves dancing and I started to practice their dance moves in my own living room. I started to enjoy doing it. I loved to go out in public a lot too, so my dream of being a nurse has just disappeared and I wanted to become an idol.
Shino: 私もとくに誰っているわけじゃないんですけど、もともとは私、もっと小さい頃から看護師になりたくて、それ以外にはならないってぐらい本当に目指していて、看護師の高校とかにも通っていたんですけど、ある日突然YouTubeを見ていた時に、YouTubeに今たくさん踊っている方がアップされているじゃないですか、その映像をすごい見てて、映像を見て自分も真似して踊るってことを自分も家で好きでやっていて、それやっているうちに踊るの楽しいなって思い始めて、元々結構人前に立ったりするのが好きなので、やりたいとおもって、ずっと夢、看護婦の夢もどこかに消えてしまい、それぐらいアイドルがやりたいと思ってやったのがきっかけです。

T-ONO: We see that you all are wearing a unique fashion of clothing, would you talk about your costumes?

Nonchan: There is a gothic lolita brand "Opera the ☆Dream House" we are collaborating with them so they make our costumes for these events. People who dress in lolita fashion usually wear a dress or a skirt, but we wanted to emphasize the Japanese aspect so they made our costumes for Anime Expo like Jibeis(Japanese style male clothes)....

Shino: You mean Yukata (Japanese style girl clothing.) [laughs]
Shino: 浴衣でしょ(笑

Nonchan: Yes Yukata! Like a Yukata!! So yeah we wanted people to see this lolitaish Japanese style.
Nonchan: 浴衣だ!!浴衣っぽい!こんな感じのふりふりも見てほしいなと思います。

Shiori: Yeah, we wanted to show more of the Japanese aspect because we came from Japan. Usually we don't wear clothes like this; however, to show people the Japanese style, we added the lolita style in this Japanese traditional clothing. For me I have a bunch of candies on my dress, and the three of us have a slightly different theme. Nozomi has a really dotted smooth coloring and Shino has more ribbons and looks much more closer to the lolita fashion.

Shino: When people see us for the first time, they think our performance is going to be cute because of the cute clothing. However our stage is wild and dark, we even keep straight faces during the performance and not even smile a bit. When people think of Japanese idols, they would probably imagine AKB48 or Morning Musume; however, we wanted to show that we are different from them. The difference between how we look and how we perform is one of the things we worked closely on.
Shino: 結構最初初めて見る方は、すごいかわいらしい衣装なので、かわいらしいステージをやるかとおもわれるんですけど、私達のステージはダークで激しくて、顔も真顔なんですけど、ニコニコせずにこっちの方が思うアイドルというのはAKB48さんとかモーニング娘。さんとか、そことは違うぞというイメージも持ってほしくて、この最初見たときはすごい可愛らしいのに激しくかっこよくダークに踊るというのがすごいこだわったところですね。

T-ONO: Do you have any future ongoing project that you can tell us?

Shino: We are having a Starmarie one-man live on August 11th. it's going to be our 5th anniversary, and we are going to do this live on the location we did our first one man live. That is going to be the first live we would be performing after we get back from Los Angeles so I hope we can bring back the techniques we have acquired here to Japan and show it off!
Shino: ワンマンライブが8月11日に新宿でやるんですけど、5周年記念ということで初ワンマンを行った場所で5周年記念ワンマンライブを8月11日でやるんで、ロサンゼルスから帰ってきてすぐにやるワンマンライブなんですけど、成長して帰ってきてできるようにしたいなと思います。

Interview conducted by Salvador Mateos. Translations by Arthur Arends.

Last modified on Thursday, 26 November 2015 23:59
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