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Nov 09

[live report + interview] An Cafe – Live Cafe Tour ’09 “ King of NYAPPY GO AROUND”

On the futuristic island of Odaiba there’s a live house called Shinkiba Studio Coast with a great view of the glitzy, neon flashing lights of the ferris wheel nearby. As the boys and girls scream with delight while rotating on the vertigo-inducing ride, another glitzy, neon flashing lights display was going on inside the live house on October 18th; that being An Cafe’s Live Cafe Tour ’09 “ King of NYAPPY GO AROUND”.

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Appearing on a brightly colored stage decorated in glow-in-the-dark tape, the band put all the fun of an amusement park ride into a show filled with music, cosplaying fans, strobe lights, and a few tears.

An Cafe is as bouncy and sweet as rock can get with prominent synthesizers from keyboardist yu-ki and unobtrusive drumming from teruki. Kanon’s bass was steady and simple, making it more of a rhythm instrument. Guitarist takuya kept his over-driven guitar loud, but never aggressive, coasting through riffs that seemed like harmonies to the vocal line. And then there was miku, the surprisingly strong vocalist who was able to control his innocuous yet solid voice throughout the quick tempo numbers and even the drawn out ballads.

But the music wasn’t necessarily the focus of the show for a good number of the fans. Cosplaying band members and the occasional spotting of Donald Duck were just the beginning. When miku and yu-ki took center stage, the crowd took a deep breath and followed along with their simple dance moves. There wasn’t a single stationary body in the house. Every upbeat song seemed to have its own dance, which usually involved waving hands in the air and sporadic head banging.

While the majority of the show was upbeat, the encore brought on the harsh reality of the band’s imminent hiatus. Miku took the microphone as the rest of the band hung their heads solemnly. Thanking the fans for being there through the good times and bad, the normally smiling vocalist became teary eyed.

An Cafe has been going strong for a little over half a decade, transitioning through a few member changes while maintaining that bouncy, easy to swallow pop-bop Harajuku style. It’s unfortunate that overseas fans won’t get a chance to witness their special brand of bounciness for quite some time, despite the overseas release of their latest album.

But the band is going to walk away with a certain message. They’re not trying to enlighten their audience with melodramatic lyrics and angst-ridden melodies. They just want to put a smile on everyone’s face as they dance around in unison, squealing, “Nyappy!” when the time is right.

Amidst their final tour before their hiatus, the band took a few minutes to sit down with Purple Sky Magazine for an interview filled with “nyappy.”

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purple SKY: I would like to ask a little bit about your style. Some people say that An Cafe is oshare kei, some people say it’s visual kei, some people say it’s Harajuku kei. How would you describe your style?
miku
: Of course we have some interest in what our style is, but it’s like we incorporate everything. But what we always say is that we’re “Harajuku Dance Rock.” But it’s all those keywords together.

pSKY: What is a part of that style? Is it fashion, music, dance, or is it everything?
miku: Our albums have a lot of different varieties of music, but our singles are basically songs you can dance to.

pSKY: I definitely noticed that last night. You had a few songs that were really moving, but then you had some songs where everyone just wanted to dance and go crazy.
miku: Thanks.

pSKY: I’d like to ask a little about your fashion. I noticed on stage you have a lot of bright, vibrant colors, wig…I thought that was very interesting. Do you choose your own clothes?
miku: Our stylist picks them out usually. Our stylist does listen to our opinions and makes it to those specifications.

pSKY: Has there ever been anything that your stylist wants you to wear, but you think is wrong?
miku: For me, yeah. There are some things I want to get perfect. I probably have a stronger opinion than the others.

pSKY: In your everyday fashion, do you consider yourselves pretty normal?
teruki: We usually wear this sort of style [hoodies, jeans]

pSKY: Pretty casual, comfortable. And I noticed your fans like to cosplay you or wear seifuku and all sorts of costumes, but I think the most interesting cosplay was of Donald Duck. Could somebody please explain the connection?
miku: Donald Duck? I guess because I do an impression of Donald Duck at shows.

pSKY: Why do you do it?
miku: It was one of the first songs we wrote [“Duck no Magical Adventure”].

pSKY: So why Donald Duck?
miku: From the time I was little. Probably kindergarten.

pSKY: You discovered you could do the voice? Actually, your impression is similar to the English one.
miku: Oh really? (does a scary, accurate rendition of Donald Duck)

pSKY: Moving on! You all seem to portray characters in the band. Could you each describe your different characters? That kind of thing goes back to The Beatles.
teruki: It’s not something that’s really decided, but we all have our own personalities. Kanon looks cool, but he’s really a nerd.
miku: yu-ki is the idiot.
yu-ki: Super bad.
teruki: Takuya looks like the handsome boy. What can I say about miku? He’s got a lot to him.

pSKY: What about you, teruki?
teruki: Gramps.

pSKY: Oh, but yesterday you were Kitaro [Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro]. That was funny too.
teruki: Thanks!

pSKY: I know it’s been asked many, many times, but what is “nyappy”?
miku: It’s a kind of pet name we have with our fans. It’s a way to bring people together.

pSKY: Did the fans invent it?
miku: I invented it.

pSKY: What is the origin?
miku: I got a message from my friend saying, “Isn’t ‘nyappy’ a cute word?” So I replied, “It’s so cute.” So we’re having this competition of who can spread the word the fastest and obviously, I won.

pSKY: Has it spread outside of An Cafe?
miku: It seems like people are writing it to their friends in letters and stuff. And at culture festivals, they might pick an An Cafe song and everyone will do nyappy.

pSKY: So maybe ten years from now, the whole world will be saying, “Nyappy!”
miku: I don’t think so.

pSKY: Now let’s move on to your style of music. Since you’ve had some member changes, how has your music change?
teruki: It hasn’t changed much. After Bou left, takuya and yu-ki joined, things changed bit by bit. But the things we’ve aimed for from the beginning haven’t changed much. But it was a pretty smooth transition.

pSKY: What is your musical aim?
miku: Life. To life.

pSKY: Have you always known that you wanted to make music?
miku: Not when I was little. Probably when I was about high school age, I realized I liked music, so I always thought I wanted to become a singer.

ancafelive_03pSKY: What was your first singing experience like?
miku: I was nervous. I went totally blank. I really thought that I probably sucked.

pSKY: What inspired you all to become musicians?
takuya: In high school, I just picked up a guitar and knew I wanted to play it forever.
teruki: When I was in middle school, I saw a rock band on TV and thought they were awesome. I really wanted to do that. [It was] LUNA SEA.
kanon: My sister influenced me to do music, so I wanted to try it.
pSKY: Do you remember what it was?
kanon: Mr. Children.
yu-ki: I’ve been doing piano since I was young, but didn’t really think much of it. In high school, I decided piano was the only thing I really wanted to do.

pSKY: You’ve obviously had success in Japan. Did you ever imagine yourselves having success overseas in Europe and North America?
miku: We didn’t know people knew who we are before we went over there. Once we got there, we were really surprised at the reaction.

pSKY: How would you describe their reaction?
teruki: They say a lot more than Japanese fans. Like, “YEAH!” Our overseas fans express their happiness a lot more than the Japanese fans. If people say Japanese fans are wild and crazy, the overseas fans are even wilder and crazier.

pSKY: Did you get a lot of people saying, “Woo!”
teruki: Woo? No, more like, “YEAH!”

pSKY: As you were composing your recent album, did you think about your foreign fans at all?
miku: Not really. We made our album for our fans around the world. We didn’t make it a question of foreign or Japanese fans. It was more of an effort with the break in mind.

pSKY: Speaking of which, I was wondering if I could ask a couple questions about the break.
yu-ki: It’s fine.

pSKY: I have to be a little blunt, but what is the reason for the break?
miku: It’s like this. The ideas we have for Antic Cafe are like coffee beans. We’ve used all these beans. And when all the coffee beans are gone, we have to go looking for some fresh beans to make a new pot of coffee.

pSKY: How are you going to make this new pot of coffee, so to speak?
miku: We’re going to take a little break and do some things that are outside An Cafe.

pSKY: I have to say, your overseas fans will be waiting for you to resume activities. Do you have any messages for your overseas fans?
yu-ki: We’re taking a break, but please wait for our return and we hope it’ll be good.
teruki: When we return, we want to do an overseas tour.

pSKY: Anyone else?
kanon: Ok!

pSKY: Was that the message?
kanon: No!

pSKY: Does anyone want to try anything in English?
miku: My treasure is Cafekko [the fans].

5 comments

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  1. RALUCUTZZZA

    I LOVE AN CAFE BECAUSE IT IS VERY SPECTACULOUS!!:))*

  2. boo

    I just have to say it… nyappy!

    1. boo

      also the coffee beans metaphor… so deep. Between Donald Duck impressions and coffee beans, I’m impressed.

      1. boo

        There needs to be a soundbite of that BTW!!!

  3. Kathy Chee

    I have always wanted to know what the heck happened to Bou.

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