On September 19th Hello! Project group, °C-ute, performed for the first time in North America to packed house in Mexico City, Mexico. A full report on this once-in-a-lifetime experience can be found here. A-To-J Connections was lucky enough to not only attend this concert, but also to be granted an interview during their already busy schedule.
Thank you for giving us some time in your busy schedule. We’ll start this right off. How do you like Mexico?
°C-ute: We like it here!
Maimi: Since we’ve never come to Mexico before and it’s so far, we were wondering what kind of country it is, but when we arrived we realized there are some similarities to Japan; such as the sunset or, this is something minor but, the power outlets are the same. These things made me think that this is a comfortable place to live.
Can you tell us something about your experience with the Mexican fans? Are they different than the ones back home?
Saki: Since the reaction is big, it’s fun to perform! When we said “Viva Mexico!” everyone would scream. When the music started, they would also scream, but when everyone was trying to concentrate they would understand and become quiet. It was also easy to have eye contact with them.
What did you do to prepare for this live in Mexico?
Airi: We learned a bit of Spanish before coming here, such as Spanish we could use during the live, from a person from our company who is actually from Peru. We used some of those phrases during this live.
Let’s talk about that live a little bit. Is there any specific song you enjoyed performing the most at yesterday's concert?
Chisato: All the songs were fun because everyone reacted to them. I thought, “Wow, they get touched by each song!” But in particular, there is a song called “Gamusha LIFE” which has lyrics that portray °C-ute up until now. When I thought of all the fans in the audience we haven’t been able to meet before, my apologetic yet happy feelings flowed out and I was able to put in a lot of different feelings while performing this song.
Speaking of the songs, did you come up with the set list?
Chisato: There is an album that we sold here in Mexico and those songs were actually chosen by popularity votes, so we mostly put those into the live.
Moving back to your time in Mexico, did you get any time to go sightseeing here in Mexico?
Mai: We got to go to Cancun for a couple of days and the ocean was really beautiful. The ocean was layered with three different colors and I was surprised. Also, the city became lively at night and it was like Halloween, which also surprised me.
What about food here? What exotic foods have you tried?
Maimi: I was very surprised by the cactus! I didn’t think it was something that was edible.
°C-ute: It was delicious!
Maimi: Since we didn’t know how it would taste it required courage. It tasted sort of like okra, sort of like bell peppers…it had a slimy but interesting texture and I actually liked it!
Are there any interesting souvenirs you're taking home?
Chisato: We’re not even sure what we should buy for souvenirs. For food, we don’t know what we can and can’t bring home so we’re going to research and try to properly bring home something.
Saki: Something Mexico-ish!
What kinds of challenges do you run into when performing overseas?
Saki: Because the audience is very different from usual, their reactions are very different. Such as singing with us or giving us hearts and blowing us kisses. I had to keep a cool head and perform without getting too carried away.
If you can go overseas again, where would you like to go next?
Airi: We would like to go wherever we get invited! If Mexico invites us again, we would love to come again.
Why do you think there has been a recent increase in popularity of Hello! Project both in Japan and abroad?
Chisato: Nowadays, we’re able to do shows that people overseas can watch such as “Hello! Project Station” and “GREEN ROOM”. We even do live broadcasts of our lives occasionally. So the things that you weren’t able to see unless you came to Japan, you can now see through the internet. I think that it helps Hello! Project throughout the world.
What is your next goal in Japan since you've had your Yokohama Arena concert recently?
Mai: Saitama Super Arena, Tokyo Dome…. After 10 years of being a group and finally standing on the stage of Yokohama Arena, we realized that we want to keep on making our dreams come true, so we want to try our absolute best to be able to stand on more big stages.
Is there any genre of music you would like to tackle next?
Airi: Hmm…a genre of music….
Maimi: We’ve had the chance to sing many types of songs and now that we’re the oldest in Hello! Project…. Since we’ve been getting more following from overseas fans, I want to challenge singing in English as well.
Lastly, do you have anything you'd like to say to all your foreign fans?
Maimi: Through the internet, I think there are a lot of people that know °C-ute or Hello! Project, but I want them to see us live in person and I want them to realize there are a lot of things you can only feel when you see us live. I felt yesterday that no matter how far we are, through singing, our hearts can get closer. I hope that fans will come visit us in Japan and we will get more chances to go visit more places. You, the overseas fans, might think you won’t have a chance to see us in person, but if you keep on cheering for us, we hope to go visit as well someday!
Thank you again for your time.
The above interview was conducted and translated by Tiffany Fujii and assisted by Teepu Khan with photography and direction by Manuel Figueroa.
◆ Yajima Maimi (矢島舞美, Leader)
◆ Nakajima Saki (中島早貴)
◆ Suzuki Airi (鈴木愛理)
◆ Okai Chisato (岡井千聖)
◆ Hagiwara Mai (萩原舞)
For more information on °C-ute, UP-FRONT and Hello! Project please follow Up-Front Link At:
◆ Rin Rigoni