Band-Maid

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Band-Maid
Band-Maid performing at House of Blues in Dallas, October 2022 (L-R: Misa, Miku Kobato, Akane Hirose, Saiki Atsumi, Kanami Tōno)
Band-Maid performing at House of Blues in Dallas, October 2022 (L-R: Misa, Miku Kobato, Akane Hirose, Saiki Atsumi, Kanami Tōno)
Background information
Also known asBand-Maiko
OriginJapan
Genres
DiscographyBand-Maid discography
Years active2013–present
Labels
Members
  • Miku Kobato
  • Kanami Tōno
  • Akane Hirose
  • Misa
  • Saiki Atsumi
Websitebandmaid.tokyo

Band-Maid is a Japanese rock band formed in 2013, consisting of singer Saiki Atsumi, guitarist/singer Miku Kobato, lead guitarist Kanami Tōno, bassist Misa, and drummer Akane Hirose. The band combines a rock sound with a maid image modeled on Japanese maid cafés.[10] They are currently signed to Pony Canyon.[11] Their most recent studio recording, the EP Unleash, was released in September 2022.

History[edit]

2013–2014: Early years and Maid in Japan[edit]

Band-Maid's official logo (2014–2017)

The band formed in July 2013. Guitarist/singer Miku Kobato, formerly an employee of a Japanese maid café, envisioned forming a band that juxtaposed the maid image with rock music. Kobato recruited lead guitarist Kanami Tōno after an Internet search. Tōno had performed as a singer-songwriter and suggested her occasional backing drummer Akane Hirose for the new band.[12] Hirose in turn suggested Misa, whom she had got to know through their work with an artist.[12][13] On July 24, 2013, they had their first live performance as a quartet with Kobato on vocals at the PP Band Audition held at Otsuka Deepa.[14] The band then decided to recruit an additional lead singer and selected Saiki Atsumi during auditions.[15] Their first performance as a five-piece was at the P Festival at Shibuya-AX on August 22, 2013.[14] The band signed to Gump Records (an imprint of the Platinum Passport artist management and talent agency) that year.

Early in their history, Band-Maid regularly performed live at various venues around the Tokyo area.[16] The group released their debut mini-album Maid in Japan in January 2014, written in collaboration with musicians Masahiko Fukui[17] and Kentaro Akutsu.[citation needed] In August 2014, they released the maxi-single "Ai to Jōnetsu no Matador" (titled "Love, Passion, Matador" internationally).

2015–2017: International recognition, New Beginning, Brand New Maid, and Just Bring It[edit]

Band-Maid first gained international notice in April 2015 when the English-language Facebook page of internet radio station Jrock Radio promoted the music video for "Thrill", which led to over 1 million views in the following year.[18] In November 2015 they released their sophomore mini-album New Beginning.[19] The mini-album was their first chart placement, reaching No. 64 on the Japanese Oricon weekly albums chart.[20] The band undertook a tour of Tokyo venues to promote the album through February 2016, culminating in a sold-out concert on February 14.[21]

In March 2016 they had their first overseas performance at Sakura-Con in Seattle, Washington.[22][23]

The group released their third mini-album and major label debut, Brand New Maid, in May 2016 on the Nippon Crown sub-label Crown Stones,[24] followed by a JPU Records release in Europe in July.[25] The album reached No. 19 on the Japanese Oricon weekly albums chart.[26] In October and November 2016, they went on their first world tour that took them to Mexico, Hong Kong, and several countries in Europe.[27][28]

In January 2017, Band-Maid released their first full-length album titled Just Bring It. It was preceded by the single "YOLO", released in November 2016. Just Bring It reached No. 16 on the Japanese Oricon weekly albums chart.[29] Band-Maid appeared at the 2017 Golden Melody Awards and festival in Taiwan on June 23–24.[30][31] The maxi-single "Daydreaming/Choose Me" was released in July 2017.[32] They covered "Honey" for the November 2017 Mucc tribute album Tribute of Mucc -En-.[33]

2018–2019: Overseas tours, World Domination, and Conqueror[edit]

The band released their second full-length album titled World Domination in February 2018,[34][35] which reached no. 9 on the Japanese Oricon weekly albums chart.[36] On the same day, they reissued their 2014 debut album Maid in Japan with two bonus tracks.[37][38] While the original release of that album did not chart, the reissued version reached No. 26 on the Japanese Oricon weekly albums chart.[39] On April 1, 2018, they performed at Warped Tour at Makuhari Messe[40] as the first date of a world tour.

The maxi-single "Start Over" was released in July 2018.[41]

Band-Maid performing at Gramercy Theatre in New York City, September 2019

The CD singles "Glory" and "Bubble" were released simultaneously in January 2019.[42] "Glory" serves as the second ending theme for the second season of the Japanese anime series Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS, while "Bubble" serves as the theme song for the Japanese drama series Perfect Crime.[42] Later in 2019, the band signed a new deal with Revolver Records. Under the name Band-Maiko and adopting a maiko image, the band released an EP titled Band-Maiko in April 2019, which adapted several previous Band-Maid songs with traditional Japanese musical instruments and lyrics in the Kyoto dialect.[43] In April 2019, the band announced a tour of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Taiwan, and the United States in partnership with Live Nation Entertainment.[44][45]

The band's third full-length album Conqueror was released in December 2019,[46] including the song "The Dragon Cries", produced by Tony Visconti.[47] It debuted at no. 9 on Japanese Oricon weekly albums chart[48] and debuted at no. 1 on the Oricon weekly Rock Albums chart.[49]

2020–present: Move to Pony Canyon, Unseen World, and Unleash[edit]

They released their first standalone concert video Band-Maid World Domination Tour [Shinka] at Line Cube Shibuya (Shibuya Public Hall) in April 2020.[50] In late 2020, the band left Revolver Records and signed with Pony Canyon. The non-album single "Different" was released in December 2020; the song also serves as the opening theme for the Japanese anime series Log Horizon: Destruction of the Round Table.[51] The band's fourth full-length album, Unseen World, was released in January 2021.[52] It debuted at no. 8 on Japanese Oricon weekly albums chart[53] and at no. 1 on the Oricon weekly Rock Albums chart.[54] Guitarist/singer Miku Kobato, under the name Cluppo, released the solo single "Peace & Love" in April[55] and the double single "Peace & Love/Flapping Wings" in August of the same year.[56]

In January 2021, guitar brand Zemaitis released a signature guitar for rhythm guitarist Miku Kobato under the name "Flappy Pigeon".[57]

Band-Maid made a cameo appearance in the 2021 Netflix film Kate, playing themselves in a concert scene.[58][59] Their songs "Blooming" and "Choose Me" were used in the film.[60] The single "Sense" was released in October 2021; the song also serves as the opening theme for the Japanese anime series Platinum End.[61] In December 2021, they announced a second US tour, including an appearance at Aftershock Festival, which took place in late 2022.[62] "Choose Me" was used in the US TV series Peacemaker.[63] In March 2022 Kobato, again under the name Cluppo, released the EP Hatofull.[64] In July 2022 Kobato released the non-album Cluppo single "With You", which serves as the ending theme for the Japanese anime series Smile of the Arsnotoria.[65] Band-Maid released an EP titled Unleash on September 21, 2022.[66] Band-Maid opened for Guns N' Roses 2020 Tour on November 6.[67]

In early January 2023, the band announced a 10th anniversary tour, planned to begin in March in Japan, with U.S. shows in May and August, and culminating with a show at Yokohama Arena in November 2023.[68] The band appeared as the opening act for The Last Rockstars on their American tour dates in February 2023.[69] The band appeared in rock festivals in the US including Welcome to Rockville, Sonic Temple Art & Music Festival, and Pointfest in May 2023, and Lollapalooza in August 2023. The band released two greatest hits albums in August 2023.[70] In the same month, the band released the single "Shambles", which serves as the ending theme for the second season of the Japanese anime series Kengan Ashura.[71]

At their "10th Anniversary Tour Final" in Yokohama on November 26, the band announced a new album, to be released in the summer of 2024.[72] The song "Protect You" will serve as the ending theme for Grendizer U.[73] The band will open for Incubus on May 1.[74]

Image and music[edit]

During live performances, referred to as "servings", band members wear elaborate maid costumes (L-R: Misa, Kanami Tōno, Miku Kobato; Boston, 2022)

Band-Maid's image is modeled on maid café hostesses, with the standard uniform adapted to match each member's personality.[12] In interviews, they explained the concept came from founding member Miku Kobato who had previously worked at a maid café in Akihabara.[15] This theme is reinforced by the band, who refer to their male fans as "masters", their female fans as "princesses", and their concerts as "servings."[75] The band's "cute and submissive" maid appearance is meant to contrast with their aggressive rock style.[12][76] They decided to have two vocalists to allow a larger variety of music with two different voice types.[15]

The ''servings" are usually interrupted by a pause where the members present some comedic interaction with the audience. This is called Omajinai-Time and mainly performed by Kobato. She gives her voice a high pitch to appear extra cute (kawaii). This performance includes calls and responses of ''moe moe kyun'' which comes from anime movies and maid cafés to show cuteness.[77]

Kobato loved Japanese enka music when she was a child, and Tokyo Jihen led her to rock.[78] She attended a vocal school around 2012, but started playing guitar with the formation of Band-Maid the following year.[12] Atsumi aspired to sing because of her love for Namie Amuro and started singing when she was 14 years old.[12][78] Band-Maid is her first band.[12] Tōno is a big fan of Carlos Santana, has played classical piano since she was a child, and began playing guitar when she joined her high school band club. Hirose is a fan of Deep Purple and Maximum the Hormone, particularly the latter's female drummer Nao Kawakita, and also played trombone and piano. Misa likes Paz Lenchantin,[78] The Smashing Pumpkins, and Jimi Hendrix; she started playing piano at around 3 or 4 years of age, and also played trumpet, alto horn, and guitar.[12][15][75]

Band members[edit]

  • Miku Kobato (小鳩 ミク) – rhythm guitar, backing and lead vocals (2013–present)
  • Kanami Tōno (遠乃 歌波) – lead guitar, backing vocals (2013–present)
  • Akane Hirose (廣瀬 茜) – drums, percussion (2013–present)
  • Misa – bass, backing vocals (2013–present)
  • Saiki Atsumi (厚見 彩姫) – lead vocals (2013–present)

Discography[edit]

Studio albums

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award ceremony Year Category Nominee(s)/work(s) Result Ref.
Classic Rock Roll of Honour Awards 2016 Japan Next Generation Band-Maid Won [79]
Neo Awards 2020 Best Musical Act Won [80]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]