Quminco Grape - Vocal
Nagai Grape - Vocal, Guitar
Matsui Grape - Vocal, Bass
Taichi Grape - Drums
74 Grape (Naho) - Keyboards
Kare no Namae wo Omoidasenai (2012)
Himitsu Gallery (2009)
Five Hits and Dust (2008)
Otonatachi x Kodomotachi (2007)
Sokokara Detekinasai (2006)
Koibito wa Koushite Tsukuru (2005)
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Budo Grape Interview
"After Naho joined, the calm atmosphere, the soft, funny feeling has moved to the background, and now the tight, sharp, solid feel has come out to the front." - Nagai
Fans of Budo Grape began falling in love with their upbeat, fun sound ever since their debut back in 2001 amidst the Japanese underground scene. They're only gripe has been the several years waiting for a new album. That wait came to an end on April 25 with the release of "Kare no Namae wo Omoidasenai" and we expect that their fans will be as thrilled with the results as we were.
Now joined by Naho (and her official band member name of "74 Grape") this new version of Budo Grape shows every sign of playing on happily into the future.On May 14, 2012 Nagai and Quminco from Budo Grape were kind enough to give an interview to Andrew from J-Pop World. All photos courtesy of Budo Grape.
Congratulations on the new album "Kare no Namae wo Omoidasenai." We loved it! How long did it take to complete the album?
Nagai: Thank you!
Quminco: Thank you very much!
Nagai: It's been two years since our last release, and we've been preparing all this time. We had over 50 song ideas, then we sort of fought amongst the members to select the songs.
Quminco: We started having ideas for the new songs around the time we released our previous album, and that's probably why the recording was finished so quickly.
Nagai: Yeah, the recording itself went really smooth -- we were finished in just a few days.
Quminco: I'm really happy about how it turned out. This time it feels like we've crammed Budo Grape's live presence right into the CD.
After so many years together, how has Budo Grape's music style changed? What style did your new keyboard player Naho bring to the band?
Nagai: The music itself has not changed that much. But since the band's atmosphere and intensity results from the members' chemistry, changing even one member changes the dynamic greatly.
Quminco: I think fundamentally we haven't changed, but we've evolved. For example, if we play the songs from our first album, we think "Hmm? It sounds better now...," or it just seems to fit better than before. Each person has also powered up in their own ways individually.
Nagai: After Naho joined, the calm atmosphere, the soft, funny feeling has moved to the background, and now the tight, sharp, solid feel has come out to the front. The Budo Grape of today is cool!
Quminco: The first time I saw Naho perform, she was playing bass and swaying her body like a guy while performing at a live -- like Nagai said, "cool." Her style has become even more colorful, and it fits great with Budo Grape's sound. I thought it would be difficult to find someone better at keyboards than Midori, but Naho holds such different characteristics, she's good at both keyboard and chorus! As a vocalist, I feel that her voice and music complement my sound.
Doggie Maggie was one of our favorite new songs. What was the inspiration for this song?
Nagai: I made this song on impulse the first time Naho came to Budo Grape's session. Actually, there is a term called "dogimagi" in Japanese. It means to "lose one's calmness and go into a frenzy" and that's exactly the feeling Naho brought into the studio that day.
Quminco: It has a lot of memories because of that. It's a very important song to us. The lyrics connect to the feeling of that day, too, so when I sing it I feel really good and excited!
True Love is a really fun song. How did you find the right musical style to fit the lyrics? Do you try crazy things in rehearsal to get the right balance?
Quminco: I believe we had the music first and then wrote the lyrics for it?
Nagai: Right. My songs are usually composed just by improvisation, when we're all jamming. But I put this song together properly at my home. At first the members didn't really care for it, but I thought of a strong intro, and once we gave it a try, it became one of the most popular songs. (laughs) Listen to the chorus part where it says "I love you," where the rhythm changes -- I think that's where it really comes alive.
Quminco: When I sing it, I imagine myself as a girl so obsessed with something -- she's almost like a stalker.
Nagai: (smiles and makes quote marks) "Almost..."
Many of your fans don't speak Japanese, but they still enjoy your music. Please explain the story of Senobi to us.
Nagai: Because the bad economy has dragged on for so long, in Japan there are more and more people who commit suicide or are thinking of it. People do not have hope for the future. It's very tough to keep going when you only have a bad image of the future. Senobi is a song from the heart calling out to people to ask them to stand tall and imagine a wonderful future. It's not so bad.
Quminco: Nagai's performance on the vocal of this song is so great, I purposely decided to not sing the lyrics part. Even on the chorus, I wasn't really sure I should come in. Nagai's message is really important, and I think the song's simplicity makes it powerful.
Nagai: Thank you. So you're saying "good job?"
Quminco: "Good job, Nagai!"
What song on the new album is your favorite to play live? Do you try to match the recorded version, or do you make a different style for live performances?
Nagai: Since we just released the album, we haven't tried everything yet. We have played Sutten kororin, KISS TOO SHY, Doggie Maggie, and Super Pain so far. They were all very exciting to play live.
Quminco: For me it's Sutten kororin! The synchronicity of the whole band feels so good, it makes me sing whole-heartedly. In fact, it's a song that can only be sung whole-heartedly. When the song's over, I feel like I've used up all my energy!
Nagai: At lives, we don't try to play differently, but once we feel the audience's energy, the performance itself becomes more powerful. The tempo also definitely becomes faster. (laughs)
Quminco: As we perform the new songs more and more, the songs naturally grow, so even with the same arrangements they might sound different.
Do you have a final message to all your fans?
Nagai: I'm very happy for the positive messages fans have sent us about the new album. Thank you so much! We definitely want everyone to hear it. And we'd like to see you at our lives! Stay free!Quminco: Budo Grape is a band that once you fall in love with us, you cannot get us out of your mind. If that's alright with you, take a chance and fall in love with Budo Grape! We will continue to evolve as a band, so we need your support. We would love to see you one day at our lives.
For more info checkout Budo Grape's official site and MySpace page. Leave your comments about this interview and read what others had to say at the following link: Interview Comments