ORESKABAND, one of the musical guests invited to perform at Otakon 2015, is an all-girl ska band from Japan. They have previously performed in the United States, as well as in Canada and Brazil, and were scheduled to perform at the Gramercy Theatre after the convention on July 30, 2015. ORESKABAND was also voted as the #6 Best Performing Ska Band in the World by Reggae, Steady, Ska! in 2014.
On July 24, 2015, Very Good Days had a special opportunity to interview ORESKABAND. The interview was conducted by VGD admins Zachary Kopp (Arcluna) and Roderic Suarez (RSNiteblaze) and photographed by VGD staff member Eddie Lai (Elsuke) [White Specs Photography].
Can we start with introductions?
iCas: Hi I’m iCas and I play guitar and vocals.
Hayami: I am Hayami. I play trombone.
Saki: I’m Saki. I play trumpet.
Tomi: I’m Tomi. I play bass.
tae: I’m tae. I play the drums.
The convention has just started but what are your first impressions of Baltimore and what are your expectations for the weekend?
Hayami: We finally came to Baltimore, so we’re thankful to everyone! It’s only been raining in Japan, so the weather here is very good.
What are you expecting and what have you done in Baltimore?
We ate crabcakes!
So you’ve performed in Japan, in America, and elsewhere, Brazil. What does it mean to you to have this opportunity to share your music with so many people?
iCas: We are able to come and meet people we wouldn’t normally be able to meet. And we wouldn’t be able to communicate with people through the music so we are very happy.
Ska music is not indigenous to Japan so how did you discover ska music and want to form a ska band?
Hayami: When we were in middle school there were about 10-20 ska punk bands and we went to their performances a lot and we studied that ska music. We wanted to form a band but since I played a trombone we figured we should just form a ska band.
Each music has its own fashion style. We were wondering what is the fashion style for ska music and what is ORESKABAND’s fashion style?
iCas: When we first started doing ska music “The Specials” were also playing ska music and they wore white shirts and neckties so we were always doing that. Lately, we really like “fish bone” so we’re trying to get closer to them. *Laughs*
Having formed in middle school you’ve been together a significant amount of time. What does that experience and familiarity bring to your music?
Saki: Of course, after such a long time being in ORESKABAND, twelve years, always playing lives and communicating with our fans through our live music, our sense of music, our energy, bonds with each other, our belief in each other and our bonds with our fans… All of that piles up and we progressively grow, continue to make better music, and are able to do more interesting things and we get excited at that prospect.
In addition to growth as a band, has your growth as individuals influenced your music?
iCas: Well if we didn’t we wouldn’t be able to keep going. When we met we were just kids and our likes in music hadn’t solidified. And now that time has passed we each have various things that we are interested in and values have changed. And those things are connected to the music. And because of that it has become really fun.
You have already found success in Japan so what do you plan to accomplish in the future?
Hayami: We want to do a world tour. Young people in Japan don’t really know ska music. I think that America and overseas there are cultures that really express ska music but I want the young people in Japan today to come to know ska music. I want Japan to become a country that can dance.
Where would you like to perform?
ORESKABAND: Mexico, Jamaica, Europe, London.
What was it like working with YUI on the song “It’s my life.” And would you like to do more collaborations in the future?
ORESKABAND: It was fun. And as a woman YUI was really sexy. And we were inspired as artists. We thought she was cool.
What is your impression of Draft King and the other bands performing this weekend?
ORESKABAND: We’re really good friends. We’ve played with them in Japan so we get along with them really well.
Your latest mini album release Carry on! which was originally released September of last year was released on iTunes in June and with your new song “Hands up girls” as a bonus track. Can you talk a little bit about Carry on! and “Hands up girls”?
iCas: Carry on! is the first CD album after we left Sony and produced ourselves. After we left Sony, we played in America and Brazil. The way the crowd got fired up in the Los Angeles live house The Roxy really left an impression on us, like they were waiting for us. And we thought once again that we would like for our music to reach them. So, we made “Carry on!” with the feeling that we wanted a song that could cross national borders.
Although you will be busy with live performances, are you currently planning/preparing for any future release?
iCas: The release hasn’t been decided but we’re in the middle of making it. We want the music to reach overseas so we will make sure to release it digitally.
Can you give us a final message for your fans?
Thank you so much.
ORESKABAND: Thank you!