Interview: An Cafe Return to Their Cafe-kko
It has been two long years for An Cafe fans. When the band went on hiatus following their concert at Nippon Budokan in January 2010, they promised the loyal ‘Cafe-kko’ that they would be back one Summer but teasingly left the year ambiguous; 20XX. To the delight of many around the world, An Cafe announced on April 1 that they would be back in 2012, refreshed, renewed and ready to take on the world with colorful Harajuku Dance Rock again.
In one of the band’s first foreign interviews since the announcement, ROKKYUU interviewed An Cafe entirely in English through email, learning about their long awaited comeback.
69: First of all, welcome back. It’s good to see An Cafe back together. How do you all feel about being back together after so long?
An Cafe: When we announced that An Cafe were back together, we were surprised by the enormous reaction from the fans and felt really happy to know that so many Cafe-kko had been waiting for us. Now, what we have to do is just one thing– to be back in front of the fans as An Cafe, who are much more attractive than us alone in all our fans‘ memories. We just can’t wait to meet everybody again.
69: Have you felt you have changed during the break, and what will this bring to the new An Cafe?
An Cafe: Yes, we feel we have changed during the break… It’s not exactly the “change” but it’s rather that we have learned a lot of things which helped us to grow up more. We are back because we are ready, and we believe you can find how we have grown up as a band when you listen to the new mini album. We also believe the gigs by this new “charged up” An Cafe will be much more fun. We started planning our performance to entertain our audience more, and we hope you can witness it at during our forthcoming tour.
69: What can the fans expect from your revival?
An Cafe: “An Cafe’s gig is filled with fun” is something we were often told in the past and we think (and we hope) it is true. We think each of us has grown up as a musician as well as a person during the hiatus, and in a sense we have changed and improved as you see in our new mini album. But, nothing’s really changed in terms that our gig is fun… we want the fans to realize again that “yes, An Cafe’s gig is much more fun!”.
69: You have a new mini album set for release in August, can you tell us what the theme and style of this mini album is going to be?
An Cafe: The concept of the costume, artwork, and the lead track “amazing blue” is “Pirates”. Indeed, we didn’t really decide on the concept of the whole album when we started writing songs… We just tried to pour our experience, which we called “coffee beans” that we were searching for, in the album. We also tried to make it our “NO.1” album – No.1 quality amongst our works… so we can probably say the hidden theme of this mini album is “NO.1” (laughs).
As mentioned, we didn’t have a clear theme in the beginning, that means we wrote songs with quite a free mind. Listening to the finished album, we now feel an impulsive drive for music, which we had had when we created our first album. That makes us feel really good.
69: Can we expect a new ‘Nyappy in the World’, ‘Nyappy In The World 5’?
An Cafe: Unfortunately, no! Wait for the next time! [laugh]
69: Your new costumes for your comeback were unveiled recently, can you tell us a little about these? Such as how and why you decided on such a style?
An Cafe: The theme of the latest costume is “pirates”, who have journeyed across the ocean and gathered the coffee beans of the world. The outfit of the members has each different motif; miku is the captain, yu-ki is the cook, takuya is the fighter, kanon is the engineer, and teruki is the researcher. We hope you can find the good mixture of the fantasy and the reality here in our costumes!
69: Before you went on hiatus, you performed at Budokan and in September you are playing Yoyogi Kokuritsu Taiikukan. What are your ambitions for the band now?
miku: I just simply want to keep singing. That’s all.
yu-ki: We want to be loved by the fans forever.
takuya: Want to perform at as many places as possible, and as bigger venues as possible.
kanon: It’ll be super if we are picked up as a sensation by the international news media, which have networks all around the world someday. Of course, the sensation should be the good one, not anything related to any crime! [laugh]
teruki: Seriously, we have some ambitions, but we feel we have to establish our position as a band after the long hiatus. Talking about ambition will be the next step!
69: In September you will hold an Ancafesta two day live. Can you explain a bit about the titles for these concerts, ‘Age of Exploration’ (大航海時代）and Harajuku Recapture (原宿奪還）and what they mean for the band?
An Cafe: ‘Age of Exploration’ (大航海時代) : We, each of the An Cafe members, had been on a separate journey after the hiatus. On this day (of the concert), we will finally return home and get together again. This is the gig after the voyage, and this is the gig to take all Cafe-kko on another new voyage to the dream world of An Cafe.
‘Harajuku Recapture (原宿奪還)’ : The King of Harajuku shall return. After period of absence, we will take Harajuku back in our hands! From now on, ‘An Cafe’ will again be the icon of Harajuku!.
69: You said in a video interview that you wanted to create a ‘Nyappy Buzz’, how would each of you go about creating a Nyappy Buzz?
miku: …You have to witness it at the concert!
yu-ki: I’ll create it through the performance and every means that I can convey my feeling to the fans☆
takuya: Oh no, I haven’t come up with the specific way too realize it! Gotta think about it until we start the tour!
kanon: Cafe-kko, give your love and power to us to create the Nyappy Buzz.
teruki: Well, well… the truth is that we haven’t really had much of a concrete plan, but we rather wanted to show how much we are expecting this tour by the word “Nyappy Buzz”. [laughs]. Either way, we are confident that we will give the best performance than ever, and the best of the best performance will surely create the buzz!
69: Can you tell us one thing you missed about the other members and one thing you didn’t miss?
miku: I had been meeting the other members from time to time even during the hiatus, so I didn’t much “miss“ them. But I sometimes thought about how great it would be if I play with An Cafe right away and imagined the spectacle that we can see from the stage.
yu-ki: When I went to my school mate’s gigs, I envied them performing in a band and I missed An Cafe. But whenever we met during the hiatus, I could see nobody really changed much, and we could get along with each other like before hiatus.
takuya: I didn’t miss anything!
kanon: I didn’t miss much because I knew that An Cafe would reunite someday, sometime. I would have missed the band much more if I wasn’t sure about it, though.
teruki: I really missed everything about An Cafe. I have been performing as a support drummer for several other bands, and especially when their gigs went successful, I missed An Cafe, as my home base, much more.
69: What will happen to your solo projects that were started during the hiatus? Will Kanon continue to collaborate with Wakeshima Kanon for example?
kanon: If the timing and schedule of both allows, yes, we are willing to work together again in the future.
69: It’s summertime very soon in Japan, and An Cafe always felt like such a summery band. What kind of things do you each like to do in the summer?
miku: Taking a nap in a beach
yu-ki: Eating ice cream!
takuya: Drinking a glass of cold beer after work
kanon: Walking in the evening outside. … It’s difficult in winter since it’s way too cold!
teruki: Travel!!! Sea! Onsen! Beer!
69: In November you are due to tour Europe again. What are you most excited about?
miku: The most excited thing is that we can meet all European Cafe-kko again !
yu-ki: Me too !!
takuya: Me too !!!
teruki: Of course the gigs. And I hope to have as many chances to communicate with fans, like autograph sessions and so on.
kanon: Speaking of communication… I actually want to show my improved language skills at the airport overseas and everywhere ! [laugh]
69: This will be your fourth trip to Europe. What do you like about playing overseas?
An Cafe: We like performing overseas very much. Not too many rock bands can have such great opportunities in their career, so we know how lucky we are. We hope we can do overseas tours as many times as possible in our life.
69: Twitter has become really popular it seems with bandmen in the last two years, and we note that you show each member’s latest comments on your OHP. What do you like about using Twitter?
An Cafe: Oh, we also use Twitter to show the latest news and comments already! yu-ki has just started Twitter, so all of us have own Twitter account now.
69: Who is the most interesting person that you follow?
miku: All of us are interesting, but… yu-ki really is a natural born comedian.
yu-ki: Why not miku? He is the funniest.
kanon: I think it’s yu-ki. He brings on happenings, about which everybody later admits “Fact is stranger than fiction”.
teruki: To put it shortly, An Cafe is such a bunch of strange people.
69: Finally, can you give us a message to our readers?
An Cafe: Thanks for waiting for us. The past two years was not always easy for all of us, but we could come back because YOU are waiting for us. We’ll do our best, and hope we can see you very soon in your town.
ROKKYUU would like to thank Ganshin for arranging this interview.