Location: Avex Offices, Tokyo
Interview Date: 5/31/2019
While I was traveling in Japan Kolme was kind enough to sit down with me.
Anime Herald: How did you first all meet?
RUUNA: We met in dance school in when we were teenagers. We’re all from Sendai.
Anime Herald: Back then did you know you wanted to be professional musicians?
MIMORI: We all had different timing and reasons for joining.
KOUMI: I first wanted to be a model.
MIMORI: I wanted to be an idol like Onpu-chan from Ojamajo Doremi.
RUUNA: I joined because my parents felt I should try dancing. I then became interested in doing music.
Anime Herald: Were your parents in music and dance?
RUUNA: My mother’s generation was so into idol Namie Amuro. She was a great dancer and great singer. They were so excited about her, that’s why they wanted me to go into dance.
Anime Herald: What were your musical influences?
MIMORI: After we formed Kolme I became influenced byFocus’s Hocus Pocus’s Jazz & Hip Hop.
(Editor’s Note: I have only ever heard of Holland’s Focus Hocus Pocus being brought up by Japanese music fans who grew up in the 1990’s/2000’s. What happened here? Was this like Sugar man in South Africa?)
RUUNA: I was rather interested in Japanese pop singers. Seiko Matsuda in particular.
Anime Herald: You’ve now toured internationally in France. What was that experience like?
RUUNA: This time we were in Marsaille. There were many more people who came to the live show. We got a chance to talk with them. It was a really special experience.
Anime Herald: What was the difference between the audience in France and in Japan?
MIMORI: Japanese fans are more shy and reserved. French fans are very expressive. When they like the music they sing and dance around.
KOUMI: When they gave a cue to let’s dance together, they joined in.
Anime Herald: When you were in France did you get to enjoy some nice French food?
KOUMI: *Laughs* Just eating bread was amazing.
MIMORI: The portions were so huge. We had a hard time finishing.
Anime Herald: What was your favorite dish?
KOUMI: Pasta with mussels.
MIMORI: The same. The pasta with clams and other shellfish.
RUUNA: Rather than one particular dish, I liked how they ate through to the dessert. Full four courses.
Anime Herald: Your first year you released an album. What was that first year like?
RUUNA: When we decided to create an album, we didn’t have any songs. We hadn’t been trained in that, so we had to learn on the fly.
Anime Herald: In America that would be like locking yourself in the office until you had a song.
MIMORI: We went to the studio every day. We didn’t have much time before our first live performance. We had to create songs for the show first.
RUUNA: When the show was decided, we only had three songs. We had to write ten songs in one month.
Anime Herald: Ten songs. One month. No pressure.
KOUMI: *Laughs* It was really hard.
RUUNA: During that time our advisers said we wouldn’t be able to create good songs without good experiences, so they took us out to nice dinners. It was quite refreshing.
Anime Herald: Good food helped you write good songs?
MIMORI: It contributed a spark.
KOUMI: Our great experiences in France, full of love and passion, has inspired us create more great music.
Anime Herald: As far as I understand it, MIMORI is the composer, KOUMI is the choreographer, and RUUNA is the leader and lyricist?
Kolme: We all write lyrics based on our personal experiences.
Anime Herald: In the video for The Liar, I couldn’t help but notice Akira in the background. Is that one of your favorite anime/manga?
MIMORI: The setting was as if it was MIMORI’s room. It was put in because it’s a symbolic anime for Japan. I like different anime.
Anime Herald: What do you like?
MIMORI: Do you know CLAMP? Cardcaptor Sakura?
Anime Herald: *Smiles* Yes, I know Cardcaptor Sakura.
KOUMI: Chobits. Fullmetal Alchemist.
RUUNA: Hunter x Hunter. One Piece. Haikyuu. Yowamushi Pedal.
Anime Herald: From the current year, is their anything your enjoying right now?
MIMORI: Attack on Titan. The new season has started. The level of animation has become really good.
KOUMI: I don’t watch much. I’m watching Ajin.
RUUNA: Haikyuu became a theater piece. It’s called 2.5. That’s becoming a trend, anime becoming theatrical pieces.
Anime Herald: What was your inspiration for The Liar?
MIMORI: We like jazz and thought the theme would be sexy. We wanted to write about a romance where the man and woman didn’t really click.
Anime Herald: What was the inspiration for Tie Me Down? Those two songs form an aggressive start to the album.
MIMORI: There’s a Otome game called Stand My Hero. It’s a romance simulation. There’s a genre called “yandere.” It’s about the darkness in girls who become obsessed with boys.
KOUMI: Her desire is to be obsessed.
Anime Herald: Is that based on personal experience?
MIMORI: It’s all imagination. I’ve had no boyfriend for twenty-three years. But I’m trying.
Anime Herald: In Brand New Days why were you on fire?
KOUMI: It’s about trying something new and the feeling it gives.
Anime Herald: Did your trips to France help you plan the outfits for Deep Breath?
RUUNA: We didn’t have a plan for shooting a music video there. That idea came from the photographer. He requested we shoot on the spot.
KOUMI: The landscape was awesome. We were wearing different outfits though. They weren’t matching. We went shopping for new outfits for the video.
Anime Herald: Was the shopping the best part of making the video?
MIMORI: The sizing was different. The French people are taller. We had to have them tailored.
Anime Herald: Have any of you ever been to America?
KOUMI: No. We would love to go.
Anime Herald: If you could go anywhere in America, where would you like to go?
MIMORI: New York. Times Square.
RUUNA: I just want to be there. There’s a great variety of music in America. Our arrangist trained himself in his twenties in America. He’s inspired us so we want to try out in America sometime soon.
KOUMI: Los Angeles. I love movies so Los Angeles is the place to go.
Anime Herald: Let me follow-up and ask: What are some of your favorite movies?
KOUMI: Eyes Wide Shut.
MIMORI: Ghibli films. My Neighbor Totoro.
RUUNA: The Devil Wears Prada.
Anime Herald: Do you have any advice for the Sunwolves? They’re having a rough season. (Editor’s note: Ruuna is a huge Rugby fan:
RUUNA: That was the first time we all went to the game together. Having the opportunity to see international stars perform in Japan is so special.
Anime Herald: Isn’t the World Championship coming to Japan this year?
RUUNA: Yes. The Rugby World Cup will be coming to Japan this year. It’s generating a lot of interest in rugby in Japan.
Anime Herald: Will you be attending the World Cup?
RUUNA: *Smiles* Yes.
Anime Herald: What are you working on right now?
MIMORI: We are working on many pieces. We release a digital single every month. Every day we work on our music.
Anime Herald: Do you have a theme yet for the next album?
RUUNA: We haven’t decided on one yet. Every month we’re trying something new. We’ll choose a theme for our next album soon.
KOUMI: Since we release a song every month we try to capture the seasonal feel. That helps our fans feel really close to the song. The singles are internationally distributed. It’s a great way to share the seasonal feel of Japan with the international audience.
Anime Herald: Very nice you have a plan. What is a day in the life like for Kolme?
RUUNA: We live in a house together. We’ve done that for four years. We share all moments together.
Anime Herald: Wow!
MIMORI: We can get together in the living room and discuss business or just share what we are listening to right now. Kolme is in every moment of our lives.
Anime Herald: Does that ever become challenging?
KOUMI: Sometimes I crave solitude.
RUUNA: We do some parties at home, inviting good friends, and having dinner at home.
MIMORI: We’re into hand-rolling sushi. That’s our current hobby for parties.
Anime Herald: Ah, what’s your favorite type of sushi to make?
KOUMI: Nori with a mayonaise-based salad topping.
RUUNA: Salmon & shellfish.
(Editor’s Note: We had a brief discussion about serving live prawns. Expert-level sushi.)
Anime Herald: What are your current touring plans?
MIMORI: In July we’re going to tour Japan and pair with different artists at each different location. Some of them are DJ’s, so they’ll create music there and dance there.
Anime Herald: I know before I ask that this is a ridiculous question, but is there any chance that you’ll perform in Numazu?
RUUNA: It’s not so far?
Anime Herald: One hour from Tokyo.
KOUMI: I love Numazu. Do you know eel pie?
Anime Herald: Yes. My first time there my friend took me to a restaurant that specialized in eel.
The discussion then switched to Disney.
RUUNA: The schoolgirls in Sendai used to take school trips to Tokyo Disneyland. I want to go to the one in America.
(Editor’s note: Brian shared his annual pass. Kolme noted that it looked aged.)
MIMORI: My cousin sent me photos from Disneyland. I noticed all the castles look different.
Anime Herald: (Brian) All of the Disney princesses have their own castles.
MIMORI: I’m so jealous.
Anime Herald: Speaking of Disney, do you have a favorite princess?
Anime Herald: Favorite ride?
MIMORI: Tower of Terror. Space Mountain. I love rides where I can just scream.
Anime Herald: *Smiling* You like thrill rides. Nice.
(We had a brief discussion about The Cookie in Los Angeles, and Birdland in New York. Also, NY Pizza. Kolme took a moment to note they love pizza. Finally, it was KOUMI’s birthday so we took a moment to wish her a happy birthday.)
KOUMI: I’m turning twenty-three.
Anime Herald: I miss being twenty-three.
Special Thanks to Kolme and Avex Entertainment for making this interview possible. There were so many great little bits that are impossible to transcribe in an interview, but infectious in person. Kolme really are quite charming and I hope our American readers will one day get a chance to see them perform in America.