Themed idol groups are nothing new, as a matter of fact they make up much of the idol scene as we know it today. Let us not forget that arguably the biggest idol group right now, BABYMETAL, is the product of a theme on paper put into real life. With this in mind we now have "Kaso Tsuka Shojo" or "Virtual Currency Girls", a cryptocurrency-themed idol group.
A-to-J Connections has several artists/groups that we like to interview every chance we get and one of our favorites among those is KOTO! KOTO is an idol who we've covered several times before. To save ourselves some time with a recap we'll direct you to our earlier work with her! We first officially caught up with KOTO early in 2016 with an interview and a live report that can be found HERE and HERE respectively. Just a few short weeks later we were lucky enough to catch up with her in Taiwan where she held her first overseas live! That interview was split into two parts and can be found HERE and HERE. A few months after that we arranged another interview that followed the release of her single "Butoh Yugi" which can be found HERE. You can learn all about KOTO in all those articles!
Now, a little over a year since our last meeting, we arranged another interview with KOTO that took place prior to her special oneman Halloween live and shortly after the release of her single "Kotoraberingu" (Kotraveling), which was released in seven different versions each representing a region in Japan. Besides this release, KOTO was very busy in the year since we last met up with her. Weeks after our last interview with her she formed XIAOCHAIPON with Hirano Yuri, successfully crowd-funded a fashion line titled "vanilla bunnies", took part in the "Aidoru Matsuri" contest, had several music releases, and more! We discussed all this and more in the following interview and you can rest assured that we at A-to-J Connections will be bringing you more content on KOTO in the future! Also, be sure to check out the full video of the interview following the translated text!
There's a new video from idol duo WHY@DOLL!
Five member dance/pop unit, Da-iCE, recently dropped a preview for the MV to their upcoming single, "TOKYO MERRY GO ROUND" and it's just the kind of upbeat song that everyone needs now around the holidays!
While 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of idol group Morning Musume。’s formation, it also marks the end of 10th generation member Kudo Haruka’s six-year tenure in the group. She joined in September 2011 at only 11 years old and formally graduated from the group on December 11, 2017 at the legendary Nippon Budoukan.
輝いている光線 – Shine Fine Movement
(Left-to-Right: Riko Tachibana, Ruu Asahina, Mei Habuka, Saki Tachibana, Nao Tachibana)
The idol world grew even brighter the other day with the release of Shine Fine Movement’s debut single “Hikari Crescendo.” Shine Fine Movement is the third group to debut from Nippon Columbia’s Label the Garden project. This time, the garden isn’t gaining flowers, but light. These five girls are the perfect ones to give it that light it needs.
先日発売のデビューシングル「光クレッシェンド」の発売と共にアイドルの世界に光が増してゆきます。Shine Fine Movementは日本コロムビア株式会社のLabel The Gardenプロジェクトからの第三弾となります。今回庭に入れる物は花ではなく、光です。庭に必要とされる光に相応しい5人です。
From left to right above: Riko Tachibana (19) from Tokyo, Ruu Asahina (17) from Nara, Mei Habuka(18, sub-leader) from Tokyo, Saki Tachibana(18, leader) from Tokyo and Nao Tachibana(15) from Tokyo.
メンバーは左から東京都出身の橘莉子(19), 奈良県出身の朝比奈るう(17), 東京都出身の羽深芽生(18), サブリーダー), 東京都出身の橘咲希(18, リーダー)と東京都出身の橘南桜(15)です。
A-to-J Connections recently completed one of our many trips to Japan where we conducted several interviews and attended many concerts and events. While there we were lucky enough to catch up with WHY@DOLL both at their oneman live at Shibuya GLAD and we were able to sit down with them for an interview! An interview that was both fun and informative and that we're ecstatic to bring you now! For those that don't know A-to-J Connections have been fans of WHY@DOLL for a while now and we even named their album "Gemini" a very close second as our idol "album of the year". (In an article that can be found HERE.) We all loved the singles that followed the album (Being "Sumire Iolite" and "Kimi wa Steady") and we gave their follow-up self-titled album, which released this past August, a great review as well. (That review can be found HERE.) We were really excited that we were granted this opportunity and we hope that everyone checks out WHY@DOLL from here on and keeps an eye on their future activities! Also, if you've never heard of WHY@DOLL before this, we encourage you to look into them more as we really can't recommend enough!
WHY@DOLL is an idol unit from Sapporo, Hokkaido that formed in May 2011 with five members, two of which would leave the following February. That February also saw the release of their first single "Fight!!". WHY@DOLL held their first oneman live in July 2013 and Zepp Tokyo and that November a third member graduated leaving WHY@DOLL as the duo they are today made up of Haruna Uratani and Chiharu Aoki. This change in lineup also marked the group's move to Tokyo. WHY@DOLL began 2014 with a challenge to make their major debut, an endeavor in which they were eventually successful and saw the release of their first major single, "Magic Motion No.5" released that September. They would release their first mini-album, "NAMARA!!", in 2015 and this would be followed by their first full-length album, "Gemini", the next year. Late 2016 and early 2017 saw the release of the singles "Sumire Iolite" and "Kimi wa Steady" respectively, both of which would lead up to their second full-length self-titled album. WHY@DOLL currently holds regular lives at Shibuya GLAD and is active on various platforms online including SHOWROOM. Links to more info can be found following the interview!
Alternative idol has been a flourishing subgenre of idol music for the better part of the last decade, coming to a head in recent years with the establishment of the WACK family of groups. What started as a glint in Pour Lui's eye quickly spiraled out of control into the bloated and generic scene we have today - everybody wants a piece of the punk/metal idol pie, no matter what they have to do to get it. Only one group has really managed to stay consistent and relevant throughout the rise of alt-idol, and that one group is BiSH. Junnosuke Watanabe's pet project meant to replace the hole in his heart left by the BiS disbandment has evolved into something much more special. THE GUERRiLLA BiSH is a product of that evolution.
I don't really consider myself to be an idol fan. The groups I like are few and far between, and don't really fit in with the mainstream criteria of what "idol" music is. If I had to pick a favorite "idol" group, though, I'd be hard-pressed to find a group I appreciate and respect more than BILLIE IDLE. Formed out of the flaming wreckage of BiS a few years back, BILLIE IDLE's whole conceit is that they're "not idols" and "not kawaii". Across their three studio albums thus far, they've punctuated that image with a slew of hyperactive electro-pop and retro throwback punk rock which often stands out as some of the most vibrant music in the scene. All good things must come to an end, though. BILLIE IDLE's fourth album is called Last Album, and is to be supported by the Last Tour. Is this really goodbye for BILLIE IDLE? I sure hope not*.
We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Juice=Juice during their stop in Taipei, Taiwan during their ongoing world tour. Their concert, held at The Red House, would be attended by many fans, both local and abroad, and came following a very successful series of shows around the world. Having recently added new members, and having embarked on what is the biggest overseas tour that Hello! Project has put on to date, we were excited to sit down and talk to them about their experiences on the tour as well as the dynamics of the group following the new additions. Check it out and be sure to follow them for more updates as this tour is not finished!
Juice=Juice was formed in 2013 by famed producer, Tsunku♂, with members taken from the Hello! Pro Kenshuusei (the trainee members). Six members were originally chosen for their indie debut and had their major debut later that year with "Romance no Tochuu". Following the release of their first album, "First Squeeze!", they embarked on their first overseas tour "Juice=Juice LIVE MISSION 220 ~Code 1-Begin to Run~" with performances in Taipei, Taiwan and Hong Kong. They would perform in Hong Kong again in 2016 and in 2017 they announced a world tour titled "Juice=Juice LIVE AROUND 2017 ~World Tour~" which took them to Mexico, Europe, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Taiwan. In June, 2017 it was announced that Dambara Ruru (Hello! Pro Kenshuusei) and Yanagawa Nanami (Country Girls) would be joining the group and they would release their first digital single titled "Fiesta! Fiesta!" that summer. Following their performance in Taiwan shows in South America have were announced to be added to their world tour.
◆ Rin Rigoni