This year, Anime Boston hosted girl rock group Stereopony as their musical guests of honor. Anime fans may recognize their music from the theme songs for a number of shows, including Mobile Suit Gundam 00 and Darker Than Black.
Aimi, Nohana, and Shiho got their start in Okinawa in 2007, and received their big break on TokyoFM’s School of Lock!. Their debut single, Hitohira no Habaira, opened at #25 on the Oricon record charts, and was used as the seventeenth ending to Bleach.
I would like to extend my most sincere thanks to Aimi, Nohana, and Shiho for both their thoughtful answers, and for taking time from their busy schedule to speak with me. I’d also like to thank Mr. Ryu Takahashi from Sony Music for arranging the interview, and serving as a translator for our conversation.
Note: Interview has been edited for clarity.
MF: Earlier this month, your newest EP Chiisana Mahou came out in American digital storefronts. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Stereopony:Aimi: Chiisana Mahou literally means “small magic.” We wrote it while we were on a short break, where we weren’t performing for a little while. We were receiving a lot of warm messages from our fans and felt like we wanted to write music for them. All of those words were kind of like, really making us positive and feeling warm, sort of like a magic in a way. That’s where the name came from. We wrote it for the fans!
MF: You mentioned in a few interviews that you began as an Avril Lavigne cover band. What led you to begin writing original content?
Stereopony:Aimi: As you mentioned, we performed cover songs when we first started. But, seeing the reaction, we felt the need to write our own music, and pen that out for the rest of the show.
AD: Of your own songs, which would you say is your favorite, and why?
Stereopony:Aimi: (thinks for a moment)
Nohana: That’s a tough question! (laughs)
Aimi: (laughs) We like all of our songs, but Hitohira no Hanabira, being our very first debut single. We wrote it before the debut, so it’s been a long time, and that’s probably the one we have the strongest feelings about.
MF: Your music has been featured on a number of anime projects, including Bleach, Gundam 00, and Darker Than Black. How does it feel to contribute to such projects?
Stereopony:Aimi: We’re definitley very happy to be a part of such anime series, since we’re fans of anime in general and, in my case, a voice actress. Anime is becoming such a worldwide thing now, that can reach to a lot of audiences not only in Japan. There are actually people watching Cartoon Network in Japan, vice versa to anime being watched here. So, it’s a bigger audience, and a wide range of people, from kids to adults. That’s definitely a good thing.
MF: How would each of you describe your music, your feel?
Stereopony:Aimi: (laughs) Don’t know… (thinks) Colorful! (laughs) It’s not really descriptive of a word, but colorful is the way I’d describe it.
MF: Who would your favorite musical artist be? What would you say your biggest influences are in music now?
Stereopony:Aimi: Do you know Judy and Mary? For me, it’s Judy and Mary. I grew up watching Rurouni Kenshin, and Judy and Mary sang the theme song, Sobakasu. So, probably they’re my first influence.
Shiho: Before I started the band, I went to see a local Okinawa band perform Deep Purple music. Even though it wasn’t the band, that was the first main influence I had.
Nohana: Do you know Namie Amuro? She’s a singer from Okinawa that I’d name as my influence.
MF: Do you prefer performing live, or recording in the studio?
Stereopony:Aimi: Live, definitely! (laughs)
MF: How you prepare for a show? Is there anything you do in particular in the lead-up? Anything to get ready?
Stereopony:Shiho: I stretch, to practice on the chorus.
Aimi: I need to practice on my MC, especially for this show since it’s in English. (laughs)
Nohana: We get together beforehand and share the same energy.
MF: You mentioned that all enjoy anime. Do any of you have a favorite show or manga series?
Stereopony:Aimi: Sailor Moon.
Shiho: Dragon Ball. I want a boyfriend like Goku. (laughs)
MF: Are you enjoying Boston? Are there any scenes that you’ve seen or would like to see?
Stereopony:Aimi: I want to go outside! (laughs) Just walk around – I like the scenery and the buildings here.
MF: Are you currently working on new material?
Stereopony:Aimi: Yes, we’re planning on it.
MF: Where would you like to see yourselves in the future? What goals would you like to achieve in the next few years?
Stereopony:Aimi: We’re actually touring in Japan right now, so we’d like to make that a big success, as far as close future fans.
MF: Do you have anything you’d like to say to our readers, your fans?
Stereopony:Aimi: We may be far away from home right now, but just being interviewed by you, as US media, we’re just happy to have your readers get to know about us and get to listen to our music. We greatly appreciate that, and thank you for your support!