Avex Portal interview [15/03/2017]

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This is an interview that was published around Furubokko’s release. It’s more light-hearted than the usual, as it was done in a dog café (so there are a lot of pics of the four Butamembers playing with dogs). There are some of the usual topics we’ve already heard in almost every interview (like the obligatory circle formation stuff or how did they get into Touhou, but this time we are safe from “how did you choose your name?”), and also some questions shared with the Rolling Stone interview published around the same time. However, there are also a lot of interesting bits, like each member’s musical roots, and fun questions like “What if you get another member?” And champagne.

[Chaos World?] Interview with BUTAOTOME, who is making their major debut with “Furubokko”, at a Dog Café!

From the left we have a cat, a dog, a polar bear, a dog, a human, a dog, a bunny… and also a dog!!!

A lot of species in the TOP image. That’s chaotic, isn’t it…

In fact, the four species other than the doggies (!?) are members of the doujin music unit “BUTAOTOME”.
And BUTAOTOME is making their major debut today, March 15, 2017, with the mini-album “Furubokko”!

Well, congratulations!! So we asked for an interview with them. But first, let’s take a look at the mysterious members’ profiles.

BUTAOTOME consists of four creatures: the pianist Paprika (cat), the bassist and composer Comp (polar bear), the vocalist Ranko (the only human), and the illustrator Ranko no Ane (rabbit). They are a musical unit that produced Touhou Project(*1) derivative works and original CDs.

*1: Touhou Project is a work produced by the doujin circle “Team Shanghai Alice.” A certain amount of freedom is allowed for derivative works.

What!? The dogs aren’t members!!

We heard that the four creatures have come together, but they don’t have a doggie, which is supposed to be a popular pet and human companion, as a member!!

So the author, who has worked in a dog café, thought to themselves, “If there is an opportunity to add members to the circle, we’ll have to get a dog in!”

So, in order to show BUTAOTOME how good doggies are, we decided to do this interview at the dog café “Inu no Jikan“, which we were able to reserve.

Let’s start this interview with BUTAOTOME in an unusual location!!

How did BUTAOTOME form? ~the doggies are still quiet~

-I’m sure our readers will go, “Eh!? What’s this band!?” (laughs) So, please start with a brief self-introduction.

Paprika: I’m Paprika, the piano player. I’m a cat!!

Comp: I’m Comp, the polar bear who plays the bass, composes music and does various things for BUTAOTOME!!

Ranko: I’m Ranko, the vocalist of BUTAOTOME. I’m human.

Ane: I’m Ranko no Ane and I do illustrations and design. I’m a rabbit.

-Again, thank you for your time today… How did you guys come to be a unit with all these different personalities?

Comp: Originally, Ranko no Ane and I, and Paprika and I were separate drinking buddies. And since Ranko no Ane can make illustrations, and Paprika can play the piano, I was convinced that they were “parts that could be something interesting”, so I had the two of them meet. Then Ranko joined as a vocalist. BUTAOTOME was born.

-You’ve done a lot of Touhou Project (Touhou in short) arrangements, but did you always want to do that from the beginning?

Comp: During our formation, Ranko and Ranko no Ane were watching a lot of Touhou arrangements on Nico Nico Douga, and through them, I found out about Touhou games and arranged music, and I thought “that’s wonderful.”

-You’ve already created so many songs, including Touhou arrangements, but what kind of schedule does it take to create that many songs?

Comp: I’m certainly working on something every day (laughs) and there’s always a deadline to meet.

-I see. And I imagine that you all have overwhelming personalities and different roots. What are the roots of who you are as yourself?

Paprika: I’ve been playing the piano since I was little. Speaking of my roots, my parents were jazz lovers, so I think that had a big influence on me. When I was involved in various activities, I met Mr. Comp and thought, “Wow, he’s a great bass player!” He invited me to “(let’s) do something fun” and we started BUTAOTOME.

-I see you like to drink. What is your favorite drink?

Paprika: Champagne! I love champagne! My favorite food is namako (laughs).

-What are the roots of your very broad style of play, Comp?

Comp: I have a brother bear who is a year older than me. I grew up listening to early Nagomu Records-style music, Kenji Ootsuki, and THE STREET SLIDERS. Other than that, overseas rock and blues also seemed to come naturally to my ears. I also play guitar, but I’m fundamentally a bass player, so I guess my roots are in funk music. But since I’m a Japanese bear, I guess I have been influenced by “kayoukyoku.”

-I see. And what do you like to drink!?

Comp: Champagne and whiskey. Paprika influenced me into liking champagne.

-And how about you, Ranko?

Ranko: I think my sister had an influence on me, but I liked bands, and I listened to THE YELLOW MONKEY and L’Arc-en-Ciel when I was little. Ringo Sheena had a huge influence on me. I’ve always liked to sing, and I started going to livehouses and joining the light music club.
My “favorite” drinks “were” sake and wine. I quit drinking alcohol a year and a half ago, and now I feel like I’m just having a glass of champagne in celebration. Champagne is delicious~ (laughs)

-At last, what about you, Ranko no Ane?

Ranko no Ane: When it comes to illustrations, there isn’t a clear “I like this and I was influenced by it” thing like there is with music. It wasn’t until after we started BUTAOTOME that I started exhibiting my work in earnest, and since I liked the Japanese style of design, I studied it~ that’s the feel. For my favorite drink I have been lured by other members, and I started drinking champagne (laughs).

-As a champagne-loving unit, there is kind of a “high society feel” (laughs)

Comp: Actually, I’ve had a lot of drinks and tried a lot of things, and I feel like I’ve come to the conclusion that “champagne is the best kind of drink to get drunk and talk about.”

Paprika: I go to a gay bar, so there’s a lot of champagne coming and going in there (laughs).

Comp: Drink it in a cup!! That’s how you drink it (laughs).

A track-by-track commentary of “Furubokko” ~the doggies’ awakening~

-Now, can you please briefly introduce each song from your mini-album “Furubokko”?

Comp: Here is me, Comp, talking about them.

1. Radical Shoujo
Comp: This song was played live, but we didn’t release it on CD and it was featured on KONAMI’s arcade game “GITADORA”. It’s a cynical piece of work, featuring the “sarcastic lyrics” that BUTAOTOME is known for.

2. Furubokko
Comp: It’s the title track, and it’s also the song we made the MV for, and it’s full of BUTAOTOME-ness, including the lyrics.

3. Hakusen
Comp: It’s a ballad that’s hard to explain with just words. The lyrics are “When I think of that situation, I grind my teeth.” “Just being alive is super great!” that’s the underlying message.

[for some reason, the doggies moved…]

4. Sharekoube
Comp: This one was originally released in an album we made as “doujin,” and it’s a staple live song. So this time, we re-recorded the whole thing again, and it was made with the feel that “if this was made by the current BUTAOTOME, that’s how they would record it.”

5. Motelab.
Comp: I’ve always wondered what “popularity (mote)” is. It was a question. I still don’t have an answer. And I thought “Isn’t popularity actually someone’s conspiracy!?” as I made this song. “Wait, that’s a weird song.”

6. Mou Ashita nanka Iranai
Comp: A surprisingly straight and catchy song. I’ve mentioned it earlier with “Hakusen”, but I don’t think “let’s do our best and live!” but I rather think that “just being alive is super great!!” Furthermore, it feels like I’ve put the theme of “So why shouldn’t I end it?” in an energetic song.

[The doggies are cuddling up to Ranko no Ane…]

Highlights of the “Furubokko” Music Video ~Are you getting used them!? The doggies~

-The title track “Furubokko” also has a music video. Please tell us your thoughts and highlights.

Paprika: Personally, I’m always “without thoughts” during our lives, but I’m glad that I look like a “cool cat pianist” in this MV.

Comp: There are some performance scenes, but the music video is mainly in a school, with a lot of mental scenery. I was very happy that the director understood what we wanted to do right away and was able to shoot the film in a way that reflected our intentions very easily. By the way, those who see BUTAOTOME for the first time through this video might think that Ranko no Ane might dance “just for this MV,” but I hope they’ll come to the lives to see her in person, because she moves just like that (laughs).

Ranko: (suddenly, the doggy kissed her…) before the final refrain on the song, the actress sings along with my voice. I hope that scene will make you all feel emotional.

Ranko no Ane: I think the song has an intense feeling, but the video is quiet. If you combine the title “Furubokko” and what you can imagine with the lyric card with the quiet video, I think you’ll get an interesting view of the world.

BUTAOTOME’s views on “major debut” ~Excited doggies~

-I’ve heard that you will continue to do doujin activities in the future, but what does “major debut” mean to you?

Comp: We have been working as just us four creatures for a long time now, and we’ve always been trying to have fun. We ended up doing a national tour as part of that, and it was something pretty big for us. That’s when I thought, “Well if we expand any further, we can’t turn it around on our own.” We can’t expand the performance and the quality we want to achieve any further.
Specifically, “I want to fly at this show” or “I want to make fried rice during the show.”

-Fried rice during the show!??

Comp: I called the staff at the livehouse and said, “I want to fire up the cassette stove and make fried rice.”… They answered, “No, you can’t use fire according to the fire laws” and I said “Well, is it OK to use IH?” and the answer was “I don’t know because I’ve never tried it.” That’s the kind of conversation I had.

-Well, you will, won’t you? (laughs)

Comp: Well, I’m sure the staff would have been annoyed to see a first-time artist called BUTAOTOME checking out cassette stoves and induction stoves (strained laugh), and I thought “I’d have to go and talk to them to explain this, but they wouldn’t understand,” and since the production time is also limited, us four creatures alone are not enough. We have to tag along with someone else to pursue the fun!!

[Three doggies approach Comp as he’s talking]

Comp: So, with a major in our view, we decided to broaden our field by making a major debut “for the sake of continuing to do fun things.”

Paprika: I think the same as Comp, but I also wanted people who don’t know Touhou (Project) to see it. I think people from many different genres can see us.
Also, I’m going to do my best as far as music is concerned, both doujin and major, and I’m not going to change at all.

-It was a necessary factor to expand your scope.

Comp: In fact, we recorded the album in the same way as we do with our doujin stuff. We did it in our private studio “Butagota studio”. So we made it in the exact same environment as our doujin CDs.
For instance, what has changed in the major is the mixing and the mastering. Until now I have been handling them myself, but I asked someone else who wanted to do the mix for a while, and I also had the mastering done at a different studio. We are releasing this CD as major, so it’s the same BUTAOTOME as usual, but the sound has been handled by some other people.
The album art is also entirely made by Ranko no Ane.

Ranko: It really hasn’t changed. This major debut of ours is to expand the range of what we can do, so we haven’t changed our recordings or shows. I think the title of our live on March 19, “BUTAOTOME until then, BUTAOTOME from now on” is exactly that.

Ranko no Ane: Personally, there were times when I worried about having to learn again. But when I asked the other members “is it okay to stay like this!?”, they said “Ane is Ane, just be yourself”, so I hope to continue to do this at my own pace.

-By the way, have you ever felt that you have become major artists!?

Comp: Yes. First of all, if we were doujin artists, I don’t think we would have been interviewed in this place (laughs).

Everyone: burst of laughing

-I’m sorry. It was my plan (sweat)

Comp: As doujin artists, if we were in charge of everything, I think we would have thought, “Oh, I think I’m going to quit (the interview and recording) today~” when we walked into the café with such excited doggies (laughs).
Of course, it’s certainly very different in “this environment” where I get to do interviews like this. Until now I’ve had interviews involving Touhou, but I’m very happy to be interviewed as BUTAOTOME.
It’s also the first time we’ve made a music video in live-action.

BUTAOTOME from now on ~Can we become the next members!? Doggies~

-The upcoming BUTAOTOME one-man live “BUTAOTOME until now, BUTAOTOME from now on” will take place on March 19. What kind of live will it be?

Comp: This is the release show for “Furubokko”, so I hope you can just enjoy it as it’s the first time we’ll be performing some of the songs live. Furthermore, Beatmario and ichigo (Kisida Kyodan & the Akeboshi Rockets) will join as guests to celebrate with us. It’s a new start for us, so we’re very excited about it. I hope you can come and feel the spirit of the event.

Ranko: The live will be simple, and we hope to give a show that’s better than ever. Also, this will be our first one-man show in a long time, so I’m hoping to perform with the audience in a passionate atmosphere.

-Well, I don’t think you’re currently thinking about it, but… If you were to add new members, what species would you want to include? Can you tell us!?

Paprika: That’s difficult. Mmmh, I think I’d like a “sloth.” Because they are cute.

Comp: Eh, an “elephant,” I guess. It’d be curious, if it were a member.

Ranko: That’s hard… I’m a big cat lover, but… it would be covered. I’d like an “alpaca!!”

Ranko no Ane: Another “rabbit” of the same type as me but of a different color like blue would be good!! Like a rabbit for each side.

-As a result, there are no dogs. So that’s it (laughs).

Ranko: Dogs are cute, but I guess that means they’re not members (laughs).

-By the way, I heard that Paprika, Comp and Ranko have cats…

Paprika: I have had a lot of pets in the past: rabbits, dogs, guinea pigs, flying squirrels, ferrets, squirrels, and others I can’t remember (laughs). By the way, a “pet I don’t want to own again” is a squirrel!!

-That’s a lovely image, but why is that?

Paprika: I really don’t miss it. It was very noisy. It was aaalways moving. I didn’t get very attached to it. That was the animal episode (laughs).

-Finally, please give a message to those who are seeing BUTAOTOME for the first time.

Ranko: If the MV’s video and music make you think, “Hey, this is interesting”, I would like you to come to our live.

Ranko no Ane: Even though I don’t make music, I’m in a strange position of being in a live, so I want to embody and appeal to the public that “You never know what’s going to happen when you’re alive.”

Paprika: We play with dogs, but we take music and lives very seriously, so I hope you will listen to the CD and come to our live.

Comp: This album is our first major work, and for those who don’t know BUTAOTOME, I hope you’ll listen to it as a whole because it captures the essence of “what is BUTAOTOME?”
Furthermore, the album will be released with a DVD, and it comes with off-shoots from the music video and a collection of short short movies. In this collection, “we got to do what we love to do,” so once you watch it, I think you’ll understand “what BUTAOTOME feels like.”
I would love it if you could watch and listen to it. Please.

Original Japanese text written by Saika Shinnosuke
Translated in English by Violet/tiramiseさん [do not repost without permission]