First, welcome back to the United States. This is your third time back, and second anime convention. What are your thoughts on yesterday’s performance?
Stereopony: It was very exciting!
What is it like performing in America, and how is a live here different than in Japan?
Stereopony: Though in Japan there is a lot of excitement, in America, the fans also have a lot more excitement, but their reactions and gestures are more pronounced than that in Japan. For example, a small “yay” in Japan would be a great “YAY!” in America accompanied with lots of hand gestures and signals.
You are gaining a significant following here in the United States. I’ve met fans who have travelled across the country to be here. However the market for Japanese music is still quite small in America. Do you think Stereopony can be one of the first bands to open up Japanese music to mainstream America?
Stereopony: If we are able to accomplish this, I would be very happy, but if we cannot do so, we will still continue to do our best.
Your latest single Chiisana Mahou had the B-side “It’s a Wild World”, your first song sung completely in English. Why did you choose to write a song in English, and will we be seeing more songs in English?
Stereopony: Last year, when we played in Animenext in NJ, with communicating with fans and signing, there were many fans who try to speak to us in Japanese in order to communicate their feelings to them. Even though it was just to say “thank you” or “that was such a great show” or “that was amazing!”, we were just so happy that our fans spoke these little things to us in Japanese. So in return, we all thought to try and speak english for our fans. We all thought to ourselves, “we really want to do this!” and even though we are not very good at English, we still wanted to try and write a song that could still communicate across to our English speaking fans.
Beyond America, our website has fans begging you to visit their countries, for example, we have members in Portugal, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and the Netherlands. Were you aware that your music has traveled across the world, and what is the likelihood that Stereopony will go on a world tour?
Stereopony: Ah! We would love to go on a world tour! That is something that we hope our manager will arrange for us one day.
Do you enjoy touring and performing live? What aspects of being in a band do you each like the most?
Stereopony: We definitely prefer performing live better.
How do you prepare for a live show and for going on tour. Is it hard to leave Okinawa?
Stereopony: With our hectic schedule, its actually a nice luxury to go back home to Okinawa, because that means that we have time to relax and escape. We rarely go back there because of our hectic schedule, and with the way Okinawan people are, laid back and relaxed, its best to go there when we finished doing a big tour or project so we can properly relax and take our time.
You gave a great performance last night as well as last year at Animenext in New Jersey last year. Is there a possibility of getting a DVD release of either concert, and are there any album or single releases that we can expect in the future such as “thank you” and “shooting star”?
Stereopony: We hope to, yea…
We do look forward to going back to the studio and making more songs. Its been a while since we were back in the studio, with the tour and all, but all of us are very excited to record new songs.
How is Stereopony grown from when you started as the four piece band Mixbox?
Stereopony:We definitely grew the most when we finally debuted, meaning we left our hometown Okinawa and we hit the music scene all throughout Japan. The level was definitely a lot different-from local to national level. Also, it was a little different because we had another 4th member in our band originally…
What was your greatest surprises and disappointments as a band?
AIMI: Individually,for me, when we record the album, the process of recording, such as the procedures and every little detail is what I find personally challenging. It is a fun process, but at the same time, it can be exhausting and difficult at times to do.
NOHANA: For me, it is when we play live, and we have to worry about the issue of sound and playback. Each venue has a different sound and it is hard to adjust to them.
From those early years there are a few songs that have never officially been released. Will we ever see a release of “Sayonara no Kisetsu” or “Super Girl?”
Stereopony: Hmmm. I don’t really think so, but at the live concerts, we do play them from time to time, so if you are lucky, you might hear them then！
Your early singles included acoustic versions. Do you like recording acoustic version of your songs, and is it possible to see future acoustic versions released?
Stereopony: There could be potentially, an album for an acoustic version, especially the song, Arigatou, because it is very mellow.
The earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11 has impacted people across the world. How has these tragic events impacted each of you?
Stereopony: We were in the middle of a live rehearsal and we played in the Tohoku region a few days before.. We saw on the TV later the aftereffects of the earthquake. We were not able to do anything. It was so frustrating, and we felt helpless. But things slowly became better, and we were able to go on tour and put up boxes for donations to do our part to help out as much as possible.
Do you have any nick-names for each other?
NOHANA: Hmmm. There really aren’t that come to mind. There is “Happy” but that is about it.
What equipment and effects do you each use?
AIMI: I use the Fender and telecaster that I used since high school. It really depends on the show that I am playing.
NOHANA: I use the Black and Gold Fender and I have been using since the debut.
SHIHO: The snares, and the pedals are all Pearl.
Stereopony: We always see them, and we get comments on our website, and we think they are cute, and we may not always understand them, but we try to reply as much as we can to do our best.
Have you heard YUI’s version of “I Do It,” and what are your thoughts on her rendition?
Stereopony: Yes, yes, we have heard it, of course. It is very cool! We were able to see it live in concert. We really loved it!
Thank you so much for sharing some of your time with me and answering questions for us. Would you say a final message for our members and your fans around the world?
Stereopony: We as Stereopony are amazed and cannot believe at how many people not only enjoy our music, but the fans we have overseas. Its like a dream to us. That’s why Stereopony isn’t composed of 3 people, but rather everyone. We are going to do our best to make more music, and play live shows for our fans, and especially, if there is a chance, we would love to come back and play overseas.
Very Good Days would like to thank Stereopony and their staff, Sony Music Japan, Jamison Chew and Anime Boston for making this Interview happen. We would also like to send a very special thank you to Ryu Takahashi for his translation and additional assistance for this interview.
Images courtesy of Sony Music Japan. Interview by Zachary Kopp (Arcluna). Additional Translation by MaryAnn Celis and Hirokazu Tanaka (Hirotana).