Today I bring you a piece of history!
GENSO MOSH PIT was a Touhou music magazine published in 2013. It featured exclusive interviews, reviews, live reports, and more. The first issue had some BUTAOTOME contents, namely a long interview with the members (made during their Magical Gambler tour) and a report of their live at Gifu on April 6th, 2013.
This magazine is completely unavailable outside of second-hand shops, and its official website is down (and with it, the download of an exclusive Cosmic Mind arrangement compilation, but this is just a sad remark about lost media).
This is an unprecedentedly large-scale tour with 19 stops throughout Japan, but what made you decide to organize it?
Comp: We originally had the idea of performing throughout Japan, in all 47 prefectures, but at our one-man live concert at the end of last year, Ranko said during the MC, “We will do a tour next year!”
Ranko: What? Really?
For my part, I meant “I want to do a one-man tour in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka” (laughs).
Comp: When I heard “We will do it”, I was like, “Oh, we are going to do it” (laughs). From there, we started to think about the details of the project. But, as expected, it would be difficult to visit all 47 prefectures, so we asked ourselves, “Well, which prefectures should we do it in?” We had consigned our CDs to MelonBooks, so we decided to go to the prefectures where MelonBooks stores were located. They also handle tickets for our live concerts. There were a few exceptions, such as the Namadaisai in Gifu organized by Monokuro Satsujin Genba Shashin, and Kumamoto and Ehime, where we were unable to go due to various reasons, but overall we were able to make it happen.
There were some misunderstandings, but it was Ranko’s speech that triggered the event, wasn’t it?
Ranko: It seems so (laughs).
I have the impression that BUTAOTOME is very energetic in its live performances compared to other circles.
Ranko: Every year we would say, “Let’s do more lives than next year,” but the number of gigs did not change much, so this year we really wanted to do more. At first, we were thinking of cramming more shows into a shorter period of time, but that would have been too much work, so we decided to take it easy over a longer period of time.
It doesn’t sound like an easy schedule.
Everyone: Well, you never know until you try (laughs).
Comp: Also, we talked about doing the national tour with Shoudouteki no Hito.
Ranko: We also talked about going to Hokkaido with kairo. We put all of these things together for this tour.
You sound like a professional artist.
Ranko: Really!? That’s the first time I’ve been told that (laughs)!
Are there any places you are looking forward to visiting for things other than the live performances, such as food or sightseeing spots?
Ranko: I am looking forward to the food in Niigata.
Comp: I am looking forward to Hiroshima. Actually… my great-grandpa bear is from Hiroshima. I used to go there when I was a child, so I’m looking forward to it.
Grandpa bear (laughs).
Ranko: I am also looking forward to visiting places I have never been to. Okayama, Sendai…
Ane: I heard that Okayama is famous for its denim, so I would like to go shopping there.
By the way, this is a bit off-topic, but at the “Sanuki Gensou Gakusai” in Kagawa last fall, they served udon noodles at the live house (laughs).
Ranko/Ane/Pap: Woo! That’s nice! I want to go to Shikoku!
If you have a chance in the future, please come to Shikoku. We will plan it together with a tour of udon restaurants the day after the concert (laughs).
Comp: Please invite us (laughs).
You are scheduled to perform at Namadaisai today as one of your tour dates, how are you feeling about today’s event?
Comp: Most of the shows on this tour are one-man or two-man shows, but Namadaisai is an event featuring many circles in a battle of the bands format, and there are people like Shinoda from Sorairo Sakusei/Shoudouteki no Hito, who we had performed with in the past. We also know most of the other performers. I am looking forward to the enthusiasm, or rather, the fact that we will be able to perform in harmony.
Next, I would like to ask about the live performance. I have the impression that you have very distinctive live performances. There’s Ranko on vocals, Comp on bass, Paprika on piano, and Ane as a performer, as agitator…
Ane: That’s the first time I’ve been told that! I’m so embarrassed (laughs)
(laughs) An agitator is a person who moves around and performs on stage.
Comp: Let’s call you agitator from now on (laughs).
Well, first of all, your composition is unique. The second thing that makes it unique is your animal headgear. Why did you start wearing masks in the first place?
Comp: THESE AREN’T MASKS!
You don’t wear them!? (big laugh)
Comp: Well, you just happen to see our human form. It doesn’t mean that is our true form, but we can take on either form. Think that we have eaten the devil fruits from ONE PIECE… (laughs)
Changing topic, when BUTAOTOME appeared at “Flowering Night 2011,” your introduction on the website stated that “the group was formed in 2009 by local drinking buddies”. Could you tell us about the time of your formation?
Comp: Well, it is just as I wrote. Ranko and Ranko no Ane are real sisters, and I am drinking friends with them, or rather, we often drink at the same bar. Paprika and I are drinking buddies, too, and I thought the four of us could do something fun together.
Isn’t it difficult to do something fun? Even if you come up with something fun, it may not be fun depending on the members. But I thought it would be fun if the four of us did it together. It was just a coincidence that the four of us got together, but we were all such a great group that we decided to do something fun with the four of us.
So it was only because of the four of us that you were able to do it?
Comp: Yes, definitely. We didn’t think about anything else.
Ranko: It wasn’t a matter of finding a guitarist because we wanted to form a band, but rather we decided to do it with the four of us, and that’s how we ended up with this formation.
So, you decided on what you could do with the four of us, and this is how you came up with the formation.
Ranko: Yes, that’s right.
I would like to ask you how you felt when you were first offered the chance to perform at “Flowering Night”.
Ranko: Well, when I first heard about it…I thought it was a surprise (laughs). I was like, “is this a joke!?” But it turned out to be true. I had always wanted to be there, so it was a dream come true. I thought it was a lie at first, but it turned out to be not a lie. I was surprised. I was like, “Really?” (laughs).
I think it’s really good (laughs).
Ranko: At that time, we were the newcomers amongst all the famous performers, and we were like, “Is it OK?” We were surprised but happy.
But I think it was indeed a staging of pursuit.
Ranko: Well, I watched the live broadcast on Nico Nico Douga the other day, and I thought, “What is this girl doing?” (laughs).
Ranko: No, I was surprised (laughs). Not that it was strange, but… I seemed so… young.
Comp: You were young. You had a lot of energy.
Ane: I don’t think I’ve changed much.
Ranko: You never change. You’ve always had winter hair (laughs).
Comp: But you move more sharply now.
In addition to CD distribution and live events, BUTAOTOME also produces doujinshi, does live broadcasts, has a very diverse range of activities, and has many fans all over Japan, so I think you have a very large number of followers.
Ranko: Uh…really? (laughs)
Paprika: You wouldn’t know it by ourselves.
For example, I often hear stories of people who started playing instruments or doing doujin music activities because they admire BUTAOTOME’s Touhou arrangements, or performing live with a BUTAOTOME cover band, etc.
Ranko: Oh, I have heard of that.
Comp: I am glad to hear that.
If you have any advice for people who are just starting out in this way, I would be very happy to hear it.
Comp: Well… I think it’s obvious and everyone knows this without being told, but the most important thing is to have fun. If you don’t enjoy it, there is no point in doing it. For example, I think there are many reasons why it is hard to practice, or why it is hard to draw well, or why deadlines are so hard to meet. The criterion of fun or no fun is something that is important to BUTAOTOME, and we consider such things as hardships and the severity of the schedule, and ultimately judge on the basis of whether it is fun or no fun. I want you to have fun in whatever they do. In other words, fun things are something that no one is forcing you to do. If you go to the trouble of doing something, I think you will be more relaxed if you remember to have fun.
Finally, what are your future goals and prospects as a circle?
Ranko: First of all, the tour. We will do what is in front of us…
Comp: I also hope that many other fun things will happen. Like the Kagawa stuff mentioned earlier, if there is an opportunity to listen to what people have to say, it may come true. I hope to make such things happen, no matter how crazy or simple they may be. I am just asking for help from others (laughs).
Ranko: I want to do lots of fun things with everyone.
Comp: Also, this is totally unrelated, but… I would like to float in the air at a live concert (laughs). I keep saying that and I really want to make it happen eventually (laughs). When we first performed at Flowering Night, we were asked, “Is there anything you want to do?” and I requested to “float in the air,” but it didn’t happen because of reasons (laughs).
When you’ll float in the air, you’ll become a legend.
- Itsumo no Futari
- Panorama Girl
- Yurara Kamishibai
- Gensou no Satellite
- Kakoinaki yo wa Ichigo no Tsukikage
- Haruka Tooi Sora no Koe
“The greatest fun!” Subtle and expressive. They grab the listener’s heart and don’t let it go.
It’s time for the popular circle everyone knows, BUTAOTOME. Ranko and her sister appear as Comp and Paprika perform “Pyrite”. “Let’s have fun!” Ranko called out, and “Itsumo no Futari” began.
Then we had “Panorama Girl”, with hands waving left and right, “Yurara Kamishibai” with its “S-U-I-K-A” call and response, and “Gensou no Satellite”, where the audience was getting excited through the movements and shouts. The setlist did give no time to catch one’s breath, and “I was having so much fun my hips were cramping” (Ranko).
Ranko’s sister, who has a strong presence with her tricky moves and various props such as the matoi (the one used by firefighters) and hand fans, was also free to take advantage of the large venue by getting off stage and joining the audience. One of the most impressive songs of the day was “Kakoinaki yo wa Ichigo no Tsukikage”. With an invite to spin towels around and around during the chorus, the sight of the entire venue, from front to back, doing it was so spectacular, symbolizing the unity throughout the concert.
The wonderful performance by Comp and Paprika, Ranko’s powerful singing voice so strong that the microphone sounded crackling, Ane entertaining the audience with various movements… BUTAOTOME’s live performances, enjoyable in every way, were spreading in Gifu as well.