It's time for something a little different. BAND-MAID are heavily influenced by Tokyo's maid cafes, play breakneck rock and gave their first UK serving (that's a show to you and us) at MCM London Comic Con last month.
Check out the band's video for 'The Non-Fiction Days' below, and scroll further to read an interview with vocalist / guitarist Miku (second left).
HOW DID THE BAND FORM IN THE FIRST PLACE? CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT WORKING IN A MAID CAFE?
Miku: "It was fun! My typical day at the maid cafe would see me looking after our customers, which we called masters and princesses, by pouring them drinks and playing games together. While working there I wondered what would happen if I could combine cool-sounding music with maids – I hadn’t really seen such a band before.
"So I uploaded some clips of me covering rock and metal songs to the internet while wearing my uniform, hoping to recruit some band members. Kanami, our guitarist, helped me record the tracks. Her drummer buddy Akane saw the videos and decided to bring her double-peddle and join us. Then she told her friend MISA, who plays bass – and soon we had the instrument part of BAND-MAID sorted!
"After that I wanted to expand the range of our music and get another vocalist, which is when we got in touch with Saiki and became the five-piece we are today."
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO USE THAT THAT THEME FOR BAND-MAID?
"I really like maid outfits! I thought the gap between cute costumes and a hard sound would make things interesting."
HOW DID PEOPLE REACT?
"People were initially taken back by the contrast between our sound and image. Maybe they were expecting us to sound like a pop band? We play a lot of shows with some fantastic up-and-coming rock bands from Japan. At first people seemed a bit shocked when we came out on stage amongst such bands, but I like to think that our music won them over! We’ve been a band since 2013 and haven’t stopped doing servings all over Japan."
WHY DO YOU CALL YOUR FANS MASTERS AND PRINCESSES?
"It’s a maid’s job is to serve patrons as if they are masters and princesses! We’ve been calling our fans that ever since we started. We also call our gigs “servings”, the same word used in Japan’s maid cafes for a maid’s shift."
YOU GUYS PLAYED AT LONDON COMIC CON A FEW WEEKS AGO - HOW DID THAT DIFFER FROM A NORMAL SERVING?
"We have had some pretty wild servings in Japan, but our servings at MCM London Comic Con was a whole new level! The enthusiasm from the masters and princesses from there was unforgettable to me, especially when they demanded an encore! We didn’t have anything prepared for such a situation!
"Thankfully the act on stage after us kindly gave us permission to use a little extra of their stage time for the encore. It was also our first outdoor serving overseas. It was a fantastic experience. It gave us a lot of confidence."
AND IT WAS YOUR FIRST TIME IN THE UK! HOW EXCITED ARE YOU TO HAVE SERVINGS OUTISDE JAPAN?
"So excited! This was our second show outside of Japan – we had a serving in America earlier in the year. But we were still nervous and full of anticipation. Many more masters and princesses came to see us than we had hoped or expected, so we were really pleased! Also, our hotel had Boddingtons on tap. I was really happy about that too."
WHAT KIND OF MUSIC INSPIRES YOU?
"I take most inspiration from a Japanese traditional style of music called Enka. As for the other members; Kanami loves Carlos Santana; Akane likes a Japanese band called Maximum the Hormone – especially because of their drummer! She’s a role model for many of us female musicians in Japan. Akane is also a big Deep Purple fan, and MISA is into Smashing Pumpkins and Jimi Hendrix."
WHAT'S NEXT NOW 'BRAND NEW MAID' HAS BEEN RELEASED?
"World domination! Our aim is to keep growing until we one day take over the world. 'Brand New MAID' is our first album to be released on CD overseas, through a British label called JPU Records, so it’s a good first step!"
'Brand New MAID' is available to order worldwide.