Hello Kawaii Kakkoii Sugoi readers! Have you ever heard of BUDO÷GRAPE? They are a catchy, high energy avant-garde pop band from Nagoya, Japan! In 2008, the band had their first American tour in Dallas, TX (A-Kon), San Antonio, TX (Slim’s Burger Joint), and New York (Knitting Factory). The members all have “Grape” for a last name, claim to come from “Neo-Nagoya.” They continue to tour Japan with their crazy live shows and catchy songs! And we are lucky to grab an exclusive interview with them! 🙂 Check out their music and the following interview.
KKS: In 2008, BUDO÷GRAPE toured America. What were you thinking about before the tour? What did you want to show American fans about Budo Grape?
Nagai: I’ve idolized America and American music since my childhood. However, I sometimes wonder if Japanese people after World War II have become too Americanized.It was like a dream that I could have a live show in America, but at the same time, as an artist, I wanted to show something in our performance that only Japanese people could express. I wanted to deliver our specific Japanese-style POP feeling.
KKS: What was the best part of the 2008 American tour? What were the biggest challenges?
Quminco: It was my first experience in America, so everything was new to me. The whole time I was excited and nervous all together. Since the energy of American fans is so great, my challenge was to go beyond their level! We really had to prepare so we could give it our best.
Nagai: Everything in America is large-size, and I kept thinking about that during the whole tour. It made me feel strongly that all of us Grapes, with our smaller bodies, had to try with all the energy and guts we could find.
KKS: Please tell us some of your musical influences.
Quminco: Pizzicato Five, Shiina Ringo, YUKI, Cymbals, clammbon.
Nagai: It’s not a musician, but Osamu Tezuka, the most famous manga artist in Japan. As I read his works, my excitement for creativity grew, and that’s what lead me to music.
Matsui: Yellow Magic Orchestra, Jean-Jacques Burnel (The Stranglers), Dee Dee Ramone (The Ramones). Burnel from The Stranglers is really the best, after all.
Nao: The Clash, Elvis Costello, Jellyfish.
Taichi: Topper Headon (The Clash), Stewart Copeland (The Police) , KEITH (ARB).
KKS: Your music videos are usually very different, but there’s always a mix of “cute” and “crazy”. How do you come up with your ideas for the PVs?
Nagai: The uniqueness of Budo Grape is the fact that we have both “cute” and “crazy.” All of our work has this balance. For our PV’s, first, I think about the location of the PV, because crazy ideas come up if it’s a unique location. We’ve shot at a train track for cargo trains, a hair salon, a darts bar, etc. We decided to shoot the the PV for our new song “Sutten Kororin” at a historic temple. We each dressed up as the opposite gender, just to make the master of the temple faint!
KKS: What are the main themes in your new album, Kare no Namae wo Omoidasenai?
Nagai: Although there are difficult things in our lives, let’s have a tough and strong life. The future you can imagine as you stretch out in the morning isn’t too bad, is it? The album has these strong messages. I’m sorry we don’t have the lyrics in Japanese, so we’ll make sure you feel the message in our music.
KKS: Lastly, here at KawaiiKakkoiiSugoi.com, we strive to find things that are cute, cool, and amazing. What is cute, cool, and amazing to each of you?
Cute – a girls’ love feeling in her heart
Cool – a live stage that will fill you with energy from head to toe
Amazing – the energy of American fans! I can’t lose to them! (*laughs) And the size of American hamburger! The hamburger I ate in San Antonio, TX, was five times bigger than the one in Japan.
Cute – my daughter
Cool – my son
Amazing – myself!
Cute – Japanese girls. I love them.
Cool – My shoes. I just bought some leopard-pattern boots. They’re awesome!
Amazing – YouTube. Thanks to YouTube, nobody buys CDs anymore. (*laughs) This is amazing!
Cute – Mail order… I love it! That’s my answer for all three!
Cute – Quminco
Amazing – Nagai
Cool – Matsui is a heavy drinker. And Nao Grape is really part rabbit (it’s a secret!).
KKS: Thanks so much for this interview! 🙂
BUDO÷GRAPE will be touring in London soon. Here are the dates and places:
･26 Oct BRIGHTON
@ The Prince Albert
£4 adv; 8pm
W/ White Star Liners, Running Dogs + Atlantic & Lion
･27 Oct LONDON
「Japan Underground Vs NEO」
@ Bloomsbury Lanes Kingpin Suite
£5 adv, £8 door; 8pm-3am
W/ Ken Kobayashi + more
･28 Oct MANCHESTER
£5 adv; 7-10.30pm; 18+ only
W/ SK8BIT + Shirokuma
Quminco÷Grape – Vocal
Nagai÷Grape – Vocal, Guitar
Matsui÷Grape – Vocal, Bass
Taichi÷Grape – Drums
74÷Grape (Naho÷Grape) – Keyboards
For more information on Budo Grape, check out the following links: