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BiSH Fake Metal Jacket Interview with natalie.mu

Posted by Lurkette, 01 June 2016 · 1952 views

BiSH released their 2nd album, "FAKE METAL JACKET," on January 20. Their previous album, "Brand-new idol SHiT" was a vivid debut for these girls, who have acquired a different strata of fans than BiS' researchers (fans). In only half a year's time they've grown into a group set up with a nationwide tour with dates sold out across the board.

Music natalie interviewed Aina the End, Momoko Gumi Company, Hug Me, Centochihiro Chittti, new members Hashiyasume Atsuko and LingLing, and producer Watanabe Junnosuke. While looking back at their activities for the past 6 months, we talked about each of the members' mental state as well as their thoughts on the new album.

Interview, text, and photos by Furukawa Tomohisa


I think we can't do anything but aim higher

--In our previous interview together, you had a lot of attention on you since your debut because the concept of BiSH was "Starting BiS one more time," and you had a lot to say about your hopes and fears regarding your future activities (BiSH "Brand-new idol SHiT"). It's been about 6 months since then, so I was wondering how you're feeling about everything now.

Centochihiro Chittiii It's all just been so fast. Like all the live tickets selling out or the timing of the single and album release, the new members joining, etc. I wondered if maybe we wouldn't take it slow, but it's been hectic.
Hug Me We've just been doing everything recklessly, and I haven't had any real sense of time. I honestly just noticed it's already the end of the year (*Interview was held in the middle of December)

--What about you, Watanabe? I think you had some idea of the future that it would be like this in 6 months, but what has changed since you first planned the group?

Watanabe Junnosuke Everything is different.

--Like what, for example?

Watanabe I didn't think things out like that at all, but people say the members are so cute. I have no idea what that means, you know?

--I have a hard time saying, "yes" to that (laughs).

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Watanabe I don't think my taste in visuals has changed since BiS. But that's not how it is anymore. Maybe it's just because the precedent is so striking, but my father said that BiS was "Full of uglies." But now he likes Chittiii so much that he pushes her.
Chittiii What, really (laughs)?
Watanabe And he knows all of BiSH's songs. With BiS he came to see shows out of some sense of obligation, but he goes to see BiSH every time even without me asking. The other day we were watching them together and he said, "They've come a long way since 'Hoshi ga Matataku Yoru ni.'" I thought, this is insane.

--BiSH has a charm that even got your dad following them.

Watanabe Things have been great in terms of mobilization, and while I originally imagined this unrefined story I had for them would run its course, we haven't stopped at all. It's different from what I thought would happen. I really feel like I've been disappointed, but in the best way possible.

--Have you thought about taking your time to build out the story step by step?

Watanabe Of course. I thought we would have a hard time getting people to show up at first, so we would start in live houses that would only hold like 100 people, then move up to Shimokitazawa SHELTER, and then if things took shape we'd be at Shibuya WWW... so I had thought out a very long-term plan, but we went from doing our first solo show at Nakano heavy sick ZERO to this unbelievable burst.

--It's a crazy story, with people just showing up without you even doing anything like you did with BiS.

Watanabe It kind of bothers me? Our first shows we had people who already couldn't get in to see them, which left a bad taste in my mouth. I wanted to avoid losing people because they couldn't get in to see the shows, so I got impatient.

--It hasn't even been a year since you started, still, so things are definitely going fast.

Chittiii It's like we almost haven't caught up to everything. Compared to the size of the venues we're playing now, we've had so many that it doesn't feel real, and we've accomplished so much that I bet there are people comparing us to groups that have been around for two or three years and just going, "Huh?" I don't think we quite have the skill level yet, either, so I'd be really sad if people came to see us because everyone was pumped about it and they were just like, that group is whatever.

--So with the happiness that comes from selling out venues, the pressure has to be intense.

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Aina the End It's overwhelming. Compared to the music stuff I did before this is way more intense, and I often feel blessed for everything. I'm grateful for every venue we can book, and selling out all the tickets is unbelievable. I've thought about us going downhill from here and it scares me, but it does no good to think negatively all the time, so I'm focusing on aiming higher.

BiSH's existence isn't funny

--Do you think that BiS' researchers (fans) who supported them have followed along to BiSH?

Watanabe No, I don't think they've come along at all.

--Which means that you have entirely different fans? I thought a lot of them would come along and would have helped with the upswell of success you've been having.

Watanabe I thought that, too, but in reality that's not the case. I don't know why, but the researchers have been very uncooperative, you know (laughs)?
Chittiii I think everyone has very precious memories of BiS. So I think a lot of people are thinking, BiSH so soon...... I think it would be sad for them to forget those fun memories of BiS by following along with us.

--Are there a lot of romantics among the researchers?

Watanabe I think, well, to them, frankly, BiSH's existence isn't funny. BiS was something we made together with the researchers, and that's why they were a group that got up there. But BiSH is like something Watanabe arbitrarily started and it's not really something they want to play along with. So it's like it's not the same in spirit, I guess.

--But if there aren't any researchers at all, that makes the sold out venues all the more impressive. To get totally different fans and get so many so quickly is almost unheard of in today's idol industry.

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Chittiii I get the impression that it's a lot of people who aren't generally idol otaku. Like a lot of people without too many experiences, or it was their first time coming to an idol event. Of course there are plenty of people who came from other idol groups, but it's more people who like bands who came to see us than idols.
Momoko Gumi Company Occasionally someone who went to a BiS show comes to see us, but then the group broke up before they could really get that invested in them. People who couldn't get involved with BiS start with BiSH, that seems to be a thing.

We want to go to Budokan

--In our last interview, Watanabe said that he doesn't have plans for BiSH to do anything extreme. You seem to have come this far without doing the extreme, just as you said, so do you feel unsatisfied in any way?

Watanabe No, not at all. Like I even think that putting the poop-like stuff on them in the 'Hoshi ga Matataku Yoru ni' MV was a flop.

--Why is that?

Watanabe I feel like with BiS no matter how far we went, a lot of people kept saying, "Do more!" But with BiSH, even if we do the exact same things, I get a lot of opinions saying, "They look so pitiful."

--Opinions from the fans?

Watanabe Yes. And then Hashiyasume's mother.
All Ahahahaha (laughs).

--The members said they were prepared for things like this, but they still have yet to appear fully naked.

Chittiii Because we want to go to Budokan. We don't want to do anything that would be a hinderance from that.

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Hug Me The garbagemen (fans) also don't want us to do those things, I feel. In September we did the BiSH Fest live where we wore school swimsuits, and it seems like there were a lot of people who took issue with that and wanted us to stop.
Chittiii Like, they want more idol from us than what BiS had, I guess. Like, it's okay to not do such extreme things.

--So how do you feel personally about it?

Aina I feel like I'm totally fine with doing things like that, regardless.
Chittiii We call ourselves the "shit idols," and we don't really get embarrassed about things, but on the contrary the fans say different things and it's like, "What?" They were really annoyed when we were pulled out of TIF.

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--Let's look back on the general events of 2015. Your debut album came out in May, and then you had your first solo concert and achieved sold out status. Things have been pretty great since your debut.

Hug Me Yes. But it's perplexing. I was doing idol activities before, but then it was like if 20 people showed up it would be a good night, so the scope of things now makes me nervous.
Chittiii I thought maybe people would only show up at the very beginning, but they have kept increasing since then.

--You appeared at Tokyo Idol Festival 2015 in August, but on the second day it was announced you had been pulled from appearing. Bringing this up now, it must have been a confusing decision, or maybe the members remember some sense of resentment?

Chittiii It was really irritating because it wasn't like we had directly done anything wrong, but we still couldn't perform. TIF is a special place for me, and we were supposed to do a show on the SKY GARDEN stage on top of a building on the second day. But then we were told, out of nowhere, that we wouldn't be appearing the next day. Like, why couldn't we?

--Things had only been going up since your formation, but this being your first setback, it must have come as a shock, right?

Chittiii It was. No matter how good or bad, I think the fact that it was so unusual was the biggest backfire.
Watanabe I apologize, but they all hate me.
Chittiii That may be true for the higher-ups (laughs).

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--But at the end of August you took your revenge by doing a make-up show at Zepp Tokyo called "TOKYO BiSH SHiNE." You got about 1400 people for it.

Hug Me A lot of people showed up to enjoy the show, so we fought with our feelings of giving everyone a fun time. Zepp Tokyo isn't a place you just simply perform at, so we did it so that we wouldn't lose to the pressure of such an irregular live.
Momoko We didn't expect to have a full house, so I want to get our revenge on it again.
Chittiii Well, I don't know if we'll be called back to TIF again, but I feel like it would be okay for us to do a separate live if we didn't get invited.

BiS and BiSH aren't like idols

--You formally introduced the two new members in September at BiSH Fest, and you started as 6. Why did you two want to join BiSH?

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LingLing I found out about BiS around the time they broke up. I've always liked Hello!Project idols, but I didn't want to join them so much as I wanted to watch them. But then I found BiS, and all the eccentric stuff they were doing really captivated me. So I wanted to try doing those things myself, and so I applied for BiSH when it started up.

--I feel like BiS and BiSH are musically and promotionally the exact opposites.

LingLing I like watching Hello!Pro idols. I think it would get much weirder if I tried doing it. BiS and BiSH do dives and stuff so I don't really see them as idols.

--What was your impression of her, Watanabe?

Watanabe Like something strange had come in. She was young and her face was cute so when she said she wanted to stage dive I thought she would work and put her in. She actually applied for the first BiSH audition when she was in high school, but she went to her graduation instead of the audition. It seemed like such a shame.

--But you took it on again the second time.

Watanabe The same goes for Hashiyasume, though.
Hashiyasume Atsuko I applied for the first audition, too.

--Why didn't you pass back then?

Watanabe We didn't take the bait of her application photo, so to speak. She didn't even make it past the first round.

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Hashiyasume I thought I wouldn't get in while I waited to hear back, but then I checked and the members had been announced. That's when I learned I had failed.

--Why did you think it over and apply again the second time?

Hashiyasume The cute type wasn't right the first time, so I figured I should just be more like myself, so I took my picture in front of a Shinjuku bank at night. My hair was super curly and I looked like a gyaru, and I took a selfie like that.
Chittiii Gross.
Hashiyasume Don't say that! My upper body picture looked like a sleek young woman. My full body pic was with me in glasses looking rough. Wait, why are you laughing?!
Aina Because you aren't sleek at all (laughs).

--But what struck you about her, Watanabe?

Watanabe Well, there weren't nearly as many applications the second time around, so I just tried calling. I didn't realize she was the same person who had failed the previous audition.

--The group went up to 6 after you both joined. How has it been for all the members since then?

LingLing I'm really bad at talking in front of people. So I thought that most of BiSH's core activities would be agony, but it's fun to do these things I can't enjoy in my normal life, so I don't get nervous on stage. I've gone a little further outside everyday since joining BiSH, and my day-to-day life has changed.
Momoko She's smart. She's quick to understand what I'm saying.
Chittiii But she does throw stones when she's in a bad mood. I feel the darkness in her occasionally.

--What about Hashiyasume?

Chittiii A bother (laughs). She talks so much that when she's telling me a story I stop listening halfway through.
Hashiyasume It's all bad!
Aina But I think she's pretty. She has the most tantalizing body. All the members agree.
Chittiii I don't.
Momoko Only Aina thinks that.
Hashiyasume I'm quite popular.
Chittiii It is funny how she can't read the mood (laughs).

I told so many stories with BiS I could die

--In September your first single "OTNK" was released. You got #10 on the Oricon Daily Chart, what did that mean for you?

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Aina That a song like "OTNK" could be accepted in the Japanese music scene. Even though we're all just saying, "penis."

--How open-minded.

Watanabe In terms of numbers it was about 10,000 copies. I didn't think we would rank at all so I was shocked we got into the top 10. We have to seriously think about what we're going to do next time, so I hope everyone forgives us for taking a while.

--You started your first solo tour in October. The final show is at LIQUIDROOM, and that and the extra show at Differ Ariake all sold out, which is impressive.

Watanabe This only happened on BiS' last tour and no other time. People from Tokyo would come out to the different prefectures to see BiS, but with BiSH, lots of people come from all over. Like there are almost less people from Tokyo coming. I don't think that's common at all these days. It's something to be really happy about, but I feel like it's still too early for this, which scares me.

--It does seem too good to be true, like I'm almost suspicious of the story you're telling me because it's definitely not the norm.

Watanabe With BiS I told so many stories I could die (laughs).

--Have the two new members been able to keep up at this pace?

Hashiyasume I had so much to do that I started to get mad and cried (laughs). I was in charge of the choreography for one song on the album. It was my first time doing something like that so I had absolutely no idea what to do. I was so stuck that my laundry just started piling and piling up both at home and on tour because I was so busy thinking.
LingLing I just assumed the scope of everything was normal so I have no idea if it's really that much or not. But it seems like it's pretty incredible, which means I have so many things I need to work on for when I get on stage. I cry a lot over things that no one else looks at. We've had things that have made me want to run away and hide, but I want to accomplish things with BiSH, so I'm going to put forth more effort little by little.

We've made a masterpiece

--So your second album "FAKE METAL JACKET" is done, to be released on January 20. Is the title from the movie "Full Metal Jacket"?

Watanabe That's right. Full metal jacket refers to a bullet, but if we put fake in there, it can't kill anyone, which is the sentiment we wanted to express in the name.

--What's the overall theme of the album?

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Watanabe This one is very emotional. We made it to jolt people's emotions, so we used very little synth in the arrangements of the songs. Lately there's been a trend in idol music to use a ton of synth, so we tried to use fewer effects and, compared to BiS and BiSH's first album, there is a lot less synth. I think it's refreshing, overall.

--I also got the impression that the vocals were fairly unaltered.

Watanabe We didn't really fix them at all. We got as close to raw vocals as we could. Which means you can see how much they've grown in six months. Momoko, especially. This is only my opinion, but I think we've made a masterpiece.

--You start with 3 songs, "Spark," "BiSH-Hoshi ga Matataku Yoru ni-" "MONSTERS" and then "Saraba Ka Na" which are from the first album. You did that so that you could add the new members, right?

Watanabe I think a lot of people will start listening to BiSH from the second album. So we decided to re-record the most beloved songs from the first with the new members. A lot of people like those 4 songs, and I hope they'll listen to the new versions, too.

--The singing parts have changed and I got a slightly different impression from them than I did the first time.

Watanabe We changed the music slightly, too. Mr. Matsukuma filled with the little details.

--The new songs for the album start at the 4th song. First is Hashiyasume's "Primitive."

Hashiyasume I wrote these lyrics about the place we're in now and thinking about the future.
Aina I thought of the choreography, and I think I came up with something that incorporates different aspects of BiS and BiSH in the past and in the future.

I wanted to get across what we were thinking

--LingLing wrote the lyrics for "beautiful sa." They're quite positive.

LingLing I just wrote things as I normally think them. I normally get bothered by little things and want to run away a lot, so it became a story about overcoming that little by little.

--"Migatte I Need You" is from Hug Me. Your song "HUG ME" from the first album is about the thoughts of a slightly mentally ill girl, and this time it's kind of heavy (laughs).

Hug Me Out of everything I've seen up to this point in my life, the most passionate calls between members of the opposite sex has been from the otaku who desperately love idols. I wrote this using that as a theme. I think people who can sympathize will really get it (laughs).

--Momoko wrote "Departures," "Want," and "DEAR..."

Watanabe I think Momoko has the best lyric-writing skills. She chooses the right phrases.

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Momoko I wrote "Departures" toward people who are in a place where they can't really shine. I've been like that until this point, but I want people who hate school and stuff to hear it. "Want" is about a broken heart. There are a lot of stupid men, aren't there? I wanted to write a song about superficial men who choose girls solely based on appearances, but it turned out to be just abusive (laughs).
All Ahahahaha (laughs).
Momoko "DEAR..." has provocative lyrics. It's for people who write whatever they feel like on the internet. I suppose I wrote it when I was feeling stressed out (laughs).

--The 10th song is "ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE," which, for the Watanabe who was known for such unusual music videos since the BiS era, had quite a serious MV. It's an emotional song that embodies the theme of the album.

Watanabe We thought we wanted to get people's emotions going in this album, so we figured we had to have an emotional song. The MV is the nicest I've made so far, with no attempt to be biting or sharp. The garbagemen asked me, "Isn't it a little soon for something like this?" but we're looking to the future. If someone starts to like BiSH well into the future, they'll go through their past work and find this, and I think they'll like BiSH so much more after seeing it.

--So you dared to do it now.

Watanabe I think it would have been fine to do it during the climax of the group. Still, that time probably would have given way to something even more emotional. I wanted to express what we're thinking right now, with the current timing. So we all thought of the lyrics together.

We'll carve out a path with our own strength

--Finally, Chittiii wrote the lyrics for "Budokan ka moshiku wa Tamanegi." This is, as the title suggests, about your thoughts of going to Nippon Budokan.

Watanabe That's right. I wanted to put a final declaration of "We'll never give up!" at the end of the album.

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Chittiii The theme is "The moment I never want to end."
Watanabe I want this to be a song that everyone starts crying at when it plays at Budokan.
Chittiii I imagined what it would like when I'm singing it, and I almost cried a little.

--What sort of album is this for all the members?

Hug Me It's album where I want a lot of people to listen to it, cutting out the whole idol part.
Chittiii I think this is a work that it's definitely BiSH. I think a lot more people will get this one than our debut album, so it's important to me.

--Finally, please tell us your dreams for 2016.

Chittiii First, I want to keep moving at our current pace. Then, I want to make this a year that opens things up for us. It might be Watanabe who clears the path for us, but I want it to be a year where we can look back and think that we used our own strength to get where we are.
Hug Me The second year is the most challenging. Our first year was so great, but in our second year things might break down, or we might not be able to overcome the obstacles in front of us. I think we have to overcome the things we weren't able to clear in our first year. That's why I want to have a sold out show at Zepp Tokyo.
Chittiii Also I don't want anyone to quit (laughs).

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Awesome article! Man BiSH are so great, so sad that Hug Mii is gone now :c
Really interesting hearing them talk about the BiS and BiSH differences, I'd say I feel the same as the Japanese fans mostly. I didn't get into BiS and I really like what BiSH are doing and where they're going.

I checked out their official website.... so Hugme left? I guess she really couldn't keep up with the dancing at her age.  I hope she finds her sukichan or something.