Wagakki Band's Kiyosih Ibukuro Discusses Return to the US and the Deep Impact Tour

The musical group Wagakki Band from Japan, have their shigin lead singer Yuko Suzuhana and seven musicians, fuse Vocaloid songs with wagakki traditional Japanese musical instruments with Western rock. The band has performed overseas including coming over to the U.S., where they played at the Anime Expo event in 2015, to a sold out crowd. They would then soon return to the U.S. for a mini tour called "Deep Impact" playing across California in such cities as Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco. They have further plans on performing more shows, including coming back to the U.S. soon enough. Koto player, Kiyosih Ibukuro, answered most of these questions, except for question 8. Be sure to find Wagakki Band at the following websites.

WagakkiBand facebok : https://www.facebook.com/WagakkiBand
WagakkiBand official HP : http://wagakkiband.jp/wagae/

1. First of all, who are you, and what do you do in the band?

Kiyoshi: I’m Kiyoshi Ibukuro, the koto player. Koto is similar to harp. It adds an oriental feel to songs and makes ballads dramatic and sexy.

2. You are currently on this mini tour of the U.S.A. But this is not your first time in the U.S. as you were a part of last year's Anime Expo, headlining the Cool Japan Festival. So how many times have you been to the U.S.?

Kiyoshi: This was my 3rd time going to the US. I’m very happy to be able to hold live shows there and meet many fans!

3. Why did you want to do, this mini tour, the Deep Impact・1st US Tour,  instead of a full-fledged tour?

Kiyoshi: We’ve only held shows a few times in the U.S. so we want to experience and learn more about American culture, little by little, in order to do our best there. We also want to build up better program for U.S. audiences and continue coming back.

4. Over the past 6 months, you have returned to the U.S. soil, so how has the experiences been going for everyone?

Kiyoshi: When the U.S. media interviews me, I think about how Japan is viewed from overseas, so I realize that I’m Japanese more often. Also, I think there are more people who enjoy working in their own way and that is inspiring. More than anything, the audience enjoys our show freely, so I realize our performances are getting wilder and wilder every time we come to the U.S.

 5. Why do a lot of Japanese performers, have their audiences, using glow sticks, during their performances Do the glow sticks represent anything in the Japanese culture?

Kiyoshi: Glow sticks are very common in pop music concerts in Japan. People who are shy and don’t go to live shows so much can join in and enjoy the show more using a stick. There might not be so many shy fans in the US, but if you want to enjoy more, have the taiko sticks and the glow sticks so you can feel like you are playing taiko with us.

6. Where did you get the idea for the band name, you planned it or came out just like that?

Kiyoshi: It’s a very simple name. We named it as if it is a genre, so people can easily imagine what kind of band we are. Now, I think it describes the fusion of wagakki (Japanese traditional instruments) and band (western instruments) very well, so I love it. As a koto player, I would be grateful if a Japanese word “wagakki” becomes familiar around the world.

7. You have released various theme songs for such anime as Attack On Titan, Samurai Warriors, and Twin Star Exorcists, among others, which anime, would you guys want to do a theme song for and why?

Kiyoshi: Bleach, Fullmetal Alchemist and NARUTO. Since they have a lot of Japanese elements,   it would be a great collaboration between us. Also, I would like to see what kind of music we can create if we had the opportunity to work for Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress.

8. Covering and performing alongside vocaloids, is a past time of yours, so which vocaloids have you shared the stage with and would like to perform with, if any?

<by Asa> Vocaloid artists Asa has shared the stage with : PIKO, Sekihan, MikitoP, Dasoku. The artist Asa wants to share the stage with :  supercell.

9. What does next year hold for Wagakki Band?

Kiyoshi: We are planning to do a lot of new stuff. Please stay tuned. We wanna do live shows in the U.S. again, too.

10. Do you have any last words for fans, or potential new fans?

Kiyoshi: We are very happy that American people have accepted our music. Thank you very much!
If you haven’t heard about us, please search “WagakkiBand” online and listen to our unique music that fuses traditional Japanese instruments, rock and traditional Japanese singing style. Also, I would like you to enjoy the interaction between drums and wadaiko in our live shows. We are planning to go back to the U.S. soon so don’t miss it! See you very soon! Thank you and we love you.

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