We here at A-To-J Connections had the distinct pleasure of interviewing the brand new group callme. When we were presented with the opportunity to review their debut album, “Who is callme?”, we knew absolutely nothing about them. Needless to say, we were swept away by how amazing their album was. Being given the opportunity to interview them shortly after that was an immense honor. We hope that you enjoy the interview as much as we did. They are a very fun and unique group who we suspect you can expect great things out of.
callme released their debut album on the 28th of October this year. They consist of three members who were in Dorothy Little Happy: Ruuna Akimoto, Mimori Tominaga and Koumi Hayasaka. Their defining feature as an idol group is the fact that they are completely self-produced. They have a very unique sound that has a lot of inspiration from video games and anime. Their first album is a testament to their talent, and shows us that they have a very bright future.
A-To-J: Hello! Thank you for this interview. To start, please Introduce Yourselves.
callme: Hello we are…. callme!! Nice to meet you!
A-To-J: What made you decide to make callme?
RUUNA: This year, all three of us graduated high school. So as a graduation project, we formed callme.
A-To-J: What is the meaning behind the name ‘callme’?
KOUMI: My name is Koumi…
RUUNA: I’m Ruuna…
MIMORI: and I’m Mimori…
RUUNA: We took the first part of our names to make “callme” (ko+ru+mi)
A-To-J: How did you feel about the first time you performed as callme?
KOUMI: At the time, we always performed with 5 people. Once we started performing with just the 3 of us, the formations were difficult to make it look good compared to doing it with 5 people. There were so many first experiences so we were a bit confused. However we were able to have fun doing the performance.
A-To-J: You have a very unique sound in your music. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
MIMORI: I’m in charge of composing the music. I really love anime, vocaloid, manga, games… and when I’m playing games, I think of what kind of songs I would want to make. Out of that, I realized the fun in composing and I base off my favorite sounds off of things like anime.
KOUMI: I really like overseas artists and Maroon 5 was visiting Japan at the time so we all went to go see their live. We watched the live and studied them so we link that to the songs we compose as well.
A-To-J: Did anything surprise you about your first performance back in April?
MIMORI: When we did our first one-man live in April, we only had 3 original songs. So to get more original songs in time for the performance, we were surprised when we were told to make 10 new songs! We somehow did it and realized if humans try their hardest, they can do anything.
A-To-J: What is your favorite song on the album “Who is callme?”
KOUMI: I like the song “Precious”. I rap in English in the song. I wrote the lyrics for it. It was my first song that had a lot of English in it. I think it made a great opportunity for people outside of Japan, such as people in Los Angeles and other overseas countries, to listen to the song. So that’s why I enjoy the song!
MIMORI: My favorite song is “Just Trust”. This song was inspired by games. I composed the song when I was thinking how its ilke playing an RPG. The theme of the song is “new beginning from an ending” so I think people that like games will understand the song.
RUUNA: My favorite song is the title song, “step by step”. The lyric “step by step” is repeated throughout the song so I think people overseas will be able to remember it easier so I will love for them listen to it!
A-To-J: If you had to describe your sound of the song “Precious” to someone who hadn’t heard it before, how would you describe it?
KOUMI: I want them to pay attention to the theme of the song which is the warmth or love from people and its romantic lyrics
A-To-J: Which song was the most fun to work on?
MIMORI: Song that was most fun to work on… Well there’s a song called “I’m Alone” and it was fun in different ways. This song is a breakup song but we have never experienced a breakup before… We were thinking how to understand the feelings of a breakup so we simulated breakups within the members. (Laughs) We pretended to be girlfriend and boyfriend and broke up…
RUUNA: We made situations as if we were in a drama and made the song so it was pretty fun.
A-To-J: What is your favorite song to perform live?
MIMORI: This has to be the title song, “step by step” because it gets hyped up. When the audience cheers for us, they sing a part of the song that goes “Oh-eh-oh oh oh~” with us. I feel the unity and it makes it very fun!
A-To-J: Which song was the most challenging to work on?
RUUNA: We have a song called “Be Myself” and it was the hardest song of the album. We hadn’t worked on the lyrics all together since the debut single. The theme of the song was “life” and it was such a grand theme. We couldn’t agree with one thing and so it took the most time to write the lyrics. Till the very end there were many different ideas and we worked hard on the song.
A-To-J: As leader, are there any challenges that you never expected, Ruuna-san?
RUUNA: All of us in callme are O blood type. Same age and O blood type so we’re a bunch of free spirited people. It’s great that we’re all different but our opinions don’t get together well often… So it’s hard to gather all the good parts from each of us, every time. But we do try to make it up by working hard to make something great, so I think its fine.
A-To-J: Mimori-san, where did you learn to compose music?
MIMORI: I started composing as a hobby and at the time I was imitating my favorite songwriter as I was composing my music. There were a lot of things I didn’t know about composing when I started doing it for callme. Our arranger taught me a lot of things such as DTM (Desktop Music) and I’m using that knowledge for composing.
A-To-J: Did you ever think that you’d be able consistently compose your own music when you first entered into the industry?
MIMORI: I didn’t think I would be composing in the beginning. However, as I entered this industry, I started love music more and felt that it was really fun. Then I started wanting to make my own music and started composing so I didn’t think I would be doing this when I first entered into the industry.
A-To-J: Koumi-san, the choreography you do flows really nicely. What kinds of styles or people inspire you?
KOUMI: Specifically, there’s a Korean group called “2NE1” and they really enjoy their lives. Instead of trying to only synchronize with the rest of the members, I can feel that that each member enjoys performing and that makes their fans enjoy the live as well. That is what I felt when I went to go see their live and it made me feel how important that is so I use it as reference.
A-To-J: You’re also pretty skilled in English. Why did you decide to learn English, of all the language choices you had?
KOUMI: I liked songs in English and also movies in English so I wanted to understand English. I also wanted to communicate with many people overseas and wanted to share our cultures so I decided to study English.
A-To-J: Are there any specific languages the members of callme would want to learn besides English?
KOUMI: I want to learn Spanish. I think Spanish is spoken in many countries so I wanted to expand in countries that don’t just speak English but Spanish as well.
MIMORI: I want to learn French. I can’t speak much English yet but I want to learn many things before going overseas.
RUUNA: I want to learn Chinese. I really like fried rice and I heard there are Chinatowns all over the world so I want to visit them. I feel like I need to learn Chinese in order to do so, so I want to learn the language.
A-To-J: Have you ever thought about singing in any of these other languages?
RUUNA: We want to make a song with many different languages and sing it at many different countries.
A-To-J: Being self-produced is very uncommon, especially from people who come from idol groups. How do you feel like this unique feature will interest more people?
MIMORI: Since we make things on our own, we share the feelings we put into our songs and I think we can convey that from our hearts, therefore I think we can also reach their heart with our music.
A-To-J: What kinds of challenges do you face, being completely self-produced?
RUUNA: Since we make our music, we get attached to each song so it’s hard to see the song objectively. We try to work this out with the three of us; for example if I, RUUNA, make the lyrics for a song, I have the other two look at it objectively for me and get advice.
The second half of our interview with callme will be posted soon! Keep an eye out for it and for other news on callme! The video for the newest single and relevant links can be found below!
The above interview was conducted by Teepu Khan with direction by Manuel Figueroa. On-site and post translation by Tiffany Fujii.
Official pictures courtesy of avex
callme - step by step
- Akimoto Ruuna (秋元瑠海)
- Tominaga Mimori (富永美杜)
- Hayasaka Koumi (早坂香美)
For More Information:
callme’s Official Site: http://avex.jp/callme/
callme’s Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/callme_official
callme’s Official Instagram: https://instagram.com/callme_official/
callme on mumo Shop: http://shop.mu-mo.net/avx/sv/list1?jsiteid=MSW&artist_id=CALLM
callme on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/callme/id968272102
callme on cdjapan: http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/person/700706365
◆ Rin Rigoni