Band-Maid

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Band-Maid
Band-Maid performing at Gramercy Theatre in New York City, September 2019 (L-R: Misa, Miku Kobato, Akane Hirose, Saiki Atsumi, Kanami Tōno)
Band-Maid performing at Gramercy Theatre in New York City, September 2019 (L-R: Misa, Miku Kobato, Akane Hirose, Saiki Atsumi, Kanami Tōno)
Background information
Also known asBand-Maiko
OriginJapan
Genres
Years active2013–present
Labels
Websitebandmaid.tokyo
Members
  • Miku Kobato
  • Kanami Tōno
  • Akane Hirose
  • Misa
  • Saiki Atsumi
Band-Maid's logo from 2017 onwards, as used on the cover of their 2018 album World Domination.

Band-Maid, stylized as BAND-MAID, is a Japanese rock band formed in 2013. The band combines a rock sound with a maid image modeled on Japanese maid cafés.[8] Originally signed to Gump Records (an imprint of the Platinum Passport artist management and talent agency), they switched to major label Nippon Crown's sub-label Crown Stones in 2016 and later moved to new sub-label Revolver Records in 2019.

History[edit]

The band formed in July 2013. Singer/guitarist 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. Hirose in turn suggested bassist Misa, with whom she had attended music school.[9] On July 24, 2013 they had their first live performance at the PP Audition held at Osaka Deep, as a quartet with Kobato on vocals.[10] The band then decided to recruit an additional lead singer and selected Saiki Atsumi during auditions.[11] Their first performance as a five-piece was at the P Festival at Shibuya-AX on August 22, 2013.[10]

Early in their history, Band-Maid regularly performed live at various venues around the Tokyo area.[12] The group released their debut mini-album Maid in Japan in January 2014, written in collaboration with musicians Masahiko Fukui[13] and Kentaro Akutsu[14] (the latter formerly of the musical group Zero). In August 2014, they released the maxi-single "Ai to Jōnetsu no Matador" (titled "Love, Passion, Matador" internationally). In November 2015 they released their sophomore mini-album New Beginning.[15] The album was their first chart placement, reaching #64 on the Japanese Oricon weekly albums chart.[16] The band undertook a tour of Tokyo venues to promote the album through February 2016, culminating in a sold-out concert on February 14.[17]

In March 2016 they had their first overseas performance at Sakura-Con in Seattle, Washington.[8][18] 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.[19] That album reached #19 on the Japanese Oricon weekly albums chart.[20] In October and November 2016, they went on their first world tour that took them to Mexico, Hong Kong, and six countries in Europe.[21][22][23][24]

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 #16 on the Japanese Oricon weekly albums chart.[25] Band-Maid appeared at the 2017 Golden Melody Awards and festival in Taiwan on June 23–24.[26][27] The maxi-single "Daydreaming/Choose Me" was released in July 2017.[28] They covered "Honey" for the November 2017 Mucc tribute album Tribute of Mucc -En-.[29]

The band released their second full-length album titled World Domination on February 14, 2018 (2018-02-14).[30][31] World Domination reached number 9 on the Japanese Oricon weekly albums chart.[32] Also on February 14, 2018, they reissued their 2014 debut album Maid in Japan with two bonus tracks.[33][34] While the original release of that album did not chart, the reissued version reached #26 on the Japanese Oricon weekly albums chart.[35] On April 1, 2018, they performed at Warped Tour at Makuhari Messe[36] as the first date on a world tour.

The maxi-single "Start Over" was released on July 25, 2018.[37] The CD singles "Glory" and "Bubble" were released simultaneously on January 16, 2019.[38] Under the name Band-Maiko and adopting a maiko image, the band released an EP titled Band-Maiko on April 3, 2019, which adapted several previous Band-Maid songs with traditional Japanese musical instruments and lyrics in the Kyoto dialect.[39] 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.[40][41]

The band's sixth album Conqueror was released digitally on December 4, 2019, with physical formats following one week later.[42] The album featured one song produced by Tony Visconti.[43] It debuted at number nine on Japanese Oricon weekly albums chart[44] but debuted at number one on the Oricon weekly Rock Albums chart.[45] Also in December 2019, it was announced that Band-Maid will appear in the upcoming Netflix film Kate, playing themselves.[46] They released their first standalone concert video Band-Maid World Domination Tour [Shinka] at Line Cube Shibuya (Shibuya Public Hall) on April 29, 2020.[47]

Image and music[edit]

Miku Kobato and Akane Hirose (back) performing in 2017.

Band-Maid's image is modeled on maid café hostesses, with the standard uniform adapted to match each member's personality.[9] In interviews, they explained the concept came from founding member Miku Kobato who had previously worked at a maid cafe in Akihabara.[11] 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."[48] The band's "submissive" maid appearance is meant to contrast with their aggressive rock style.[9][49] They decided to have two vocalists in order to allow a larger variety of music with two different voice types.[11]

Kobato loved Japanese enka music when she was a child, and Tokyo Jihen led her to rock.[50] She attended a vocal school around 2012, but started playing guitar with the formation of Band-Maid the following year.[51] Atsumi started singing when she was 14 and Band-Maid is her first band. 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 plays trombone and piano. Misa likes Paz Lenchantin[50], The Smashing Pumpkins and Jimi Hendrix; she started playing piano at around 3 or 4 years of age, and also plays trumpet, alto horn, and guitar.[9][11][48]

Related acts[edit]

Akane Hirose and Kanami Tōno also perform as guest members of the acoustic group Mochi to Cheeze (もちとちーず) (roughly translated as "Rice Cake and Cheese"), a sub-unit of the Platinum Passport group Predia.

Band members[edit]

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

Discography[edit]

Band-Maid discography
Studio albums6
Video albums1
Music videos23
EPs1
Singles6

Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions
JPN
Oricon

[52]
JPN
Billboard
UK
Ind

UK
Indie
Break

UK
Rock

Maid in Japan 26 (re-issue) 22[53]
New Beginning
  • Released: November 18, 2015
  • Label: Gump Records
  • Formats: CD+DVD, digital download
64 49[54]
Brand New Maid
  • Released: May 18, 2016
  • Label: Crown Stones, JPU Records
  • Formats: CD, CD+DVD, digital download
19 15[55]
Just Bring It
  • Released: January 11, 2017
  • Label: Crown Stones, JPU Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download
16 20[56] 49[57] 13[58] 17[59]
World Domination
  • Released: February 14, 2018
  • Label: Crown Stones, JPU Records
  • Formats: CD, CD+DVD, CD+BD, digital download
9 7[53]
Conqueror
  • Released: December 4, 2019
  • Label: Revolver Records, JPU Records
  • Formats: CD, CD+DVD, CD+BD, digital download
9 9[60] 29[61] 4[62] 11[63]

EPs[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions
JPN
Oricon

[64]
JPN
Billboard
Band-Maiko
(as Band-Maiko)
  • Released: April 3, 2019
  • Label: Revolver Records
  • Formats: CD, CD+DVD, digital download
15

Singles[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Album
JPN
Oricon

[65]
JPN
Billboard
"Ai to Jōnetsu no Matador"
(愛と情熱のマタドール, "Love, Passion, Matador")
2014 Maid in Japan
(2018 edition)
"YOLO" 2016 36 Just Bring It
"Daydreaming / Choose Me" 2017 20 World Domination
"Start Over" 2018 16 65[66]
"Glory" 2019 12 11 Conqueror
"Bubble" 14 13

Digital singles[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Album
JPN
Oricon

[65]
JPN
Billboard
"Secret Maiko Lips"
(as Band-Maiko)
2018 Band-Maiko
"Endless Story" 2019 Conqueror

DVD / Blu-ray[edit]

List of video albums, with selected peak chart positions and sales
Title Details Peak positions Sales
JPN
DVD
[67]
Blu-ray
[68]
Band-Maid World Domination Tour [Shinka] at Line Cube Shibuya (Shibuya Public Hall)
  • Released: April 29, 2020
  • Label: Revolver Records
  • Formats: DVD, BD
8 10
  • JPN: —

Music videos[edit]

Song Year Director(s)
[69][70]
Link
"Thrill" (スリル) 2014 Unknown [1]
"Real Existence" 2015 Takayuki Kojima[4] [2]
"Don’t Let Me Down" [3]
"Alone" 2016 Ryoji Aoki [4]
"The Non-fiction Days" [5]
"Before Yesterday" Unknown [6]
"Order" Ryoji Aoki Brand New Maid DVD only
"YOLO" [7]
"Don't You Tell Me" 2017 [8]
"Secret My Lips" Unknown [9]
"Daydreaming" Ryoji Aoki [10]
"Choose Me" [11]
"Domination" 2018 Toshikazu Tamura [12]
"Dice" Unknown [13]
"Secret Maiko Lips" Ryoji Aoki [14]
"Start Over" [15]
"Glory" [16]
"Bubble" 2019 [17]
"Gion-cho" [18]
"Endless Story" Unknown [19]
"Rinne" (輪廻) Ryoji Aoki [20]
"Blooming" Unknown [21]
"The Dragon Cries" 2020 [22]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Classic Rock Roll of Honour Awards
Year Nominee / work Award Result
2016 Band-Maid Japan Next Generation[71] Won
Neo Awards
Year Nominee / work Award Result
2020 Band-Maid Best Musical Act[72] Won

References[edit]

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  67. ^ Band-Maid Oricon Weekly DVD Positions:
  68. ^ Band-Maid Oricon Weekly Blu-ray Positions:
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External links[edit]