D4DJ is Bushiroad‘s new DJ-theme mixed-media project. The project includes live DJ performances, anime, and games. This is an interview with Aimi and Reo Kurachi from the DJ unit Peaky P-key (left), Haruki Iwata and Hinata Sato from Photon Maiden (right).
Please introduce your character and your group in more details.
Aimi: Peaky P-Key is a unit of super popular high school girls at the high school they go to. The character that I play is Kyoko Yamate and she is the charismatic leader of Peaky P-key. She’s a very talented, diligent, and hard-working character.
Reo Kurachi : I play Esora Shimizu from the same DJ unit. She’s a self-proclaimed “lovely” member of the unit. She’s a true natural entertainer. She came into Kyoko’s unit as a DJ to amuse not only the audience but herself. She’s rich so she is super generous when it comes to her own money. She’s a schemer who’s excellent at catching people off guard to discover what they really think.
Haruki Iwata: Photon Maiden is an upcoming DJ unit produced by the agency.
Hinata Sato: Our music style is cyber and electric so our costume is matching to that style of the music.
Haruki Iwata: The character I play is Hanamaki Towa. Her family is associated with her hometown’s youth group and she is actively involved in the local festivals. She’s a big fan of idols so she always goes to see idol performances and does research on their performances. She’s cheerful but also slightly airheaded sometimes.
Hinata Sato: The character I play is Fukushima Noa who loves cute things. She’s very knowledgeable and she talks a lot about her interests. I personally think her visual design is very good.
What aspect of the franchise would the fans be most interested in?
Reo Kurachi: January 2020 is the release date for our first CD. We have already announced our 4th live coming up in April 2020 so please stay tuned for our activities in that time as well.
What challenges do you face with comparing D4DJ’s live concerts with the other Bushiroad franchise’s live concert?
Aimi: Kyoko is a charismatic character. It was very challenging for me to show that charisma. I’m still researching.
Reo Kurachi: This project started off with the music before the anime or the game. So it was a little hard to imagine and develop the character’s personality from the songs.
Haruki Iwata: So I’m in Revue Starlight. Revue Starlight performance is mainly singing, dancing along with swordsmanship. D4DJ is more like free-style so I think it’s important to focus on how we can entertain the crowd instead of just learning the choreography. I’m still learning.
Hinata Sato: In all of my performances, when I sing, I stop dancing but when it’s time to dance, I start moving but for this D4DJ’s performance of all the separate songs put together, it takes more than 10 minutes. Since Haruki and I are dancers of the group, so we have to keep dancing for the whole performance so we sweat a lot (laugh)
D4DJ is a new project and barely has any content. How do you feel when American fans are already so excited for this new project?
Aimi: I was simply surprised. Some people already knew the dance moves and I was like “Wow! The power of Youtube is amazing.” (Laugh)
Hinata Sato: I felt that all of the units’ music is catchy. So even if you don’t understand the lyrics, you can still feel the beat and feel the dance so I think that helps us grow a bigger fanbase.
How much did you know about DJ before the D4DJ project? What have you learned since you started?
Aimi: I had no knowledge about DJ but now I’ve always been interested in it. However, my character, Kyoko, isn’t the DJ but if there’s a chance, I’d like to push one or two buttons. (laughs)
Reo Kurachi : I’m a member of RAISE A SUILEN and we have a DJ in our band. I knew about DJing but I don’t know too much about it. After this project, I thought the DJ culture is really cool.
Haruki Iwata: I didn’t really know much about DJing and when I think about DJs, I imagine people feeling the music, partying at the club and going “Yay! Yay!” Even though D4DJ is a new project, I feel like the DJs that remix the tracks can change whole beat and the mood
of the audience. I realize now the DJ serves an important role.
Hinata Sato: My first image of DJ was when I watched Zac Efron DJing and I immediately thought, “Wow! Zac Efron. So cool!” Photon Maiden is great at transitioning songs for each set and I thought it was really cool to change the mood just by transitioning one song to the next.
3．GRAND GEEK GATHERING:
Is there any artist(s) that you draw inspiration from when it comes to performing your songs? Who are your favorite artists?
Aimi: Everything about Kyoko is original, Kyoko’s own style. However, I do study my own performances so I can improve even further. While it is unrelated to DJ, my favorite artist is BUMP OF CHICKEN.
Reo Kurachi: I also don’t have any specific artists to draw inspiration for my DJ style but I always try to look for a more mature and danceable appeal for my character, Esora. I also want to express the edginess and cuteness of my performance.
Aimi: Reo’s performance is really helpful to learn so sometimes I study her moves and try to copy her. (laughs)
Haruki Iwata: Photon Maiden consists Tsumugi Risa as the DJ of the group and Maeshima Ami, Hinata and myself as the dancers. Dance is a really important factor in this group’s music and music style and our teacher told us to be in sync. We always try to match each other’s moves and inspire each other as well. Thanks to my father’s influence while I was growing up, I love the band Queen.
Hinata Sato: Photon Maiden is more of the cyber-like unit. All members of this unit is experienced with singing and dancing on the stage. Instead of copying or following other artists, we are trying to show our true self. While we do that, we still focus on the same direction. That is our sole focus. My favorite artist is Suzuko Mimori. She’s so cute and whenever I watch her perform, it makes me extremely happy. Also I like EGOIST.
What can we expect from the group’s style of music? How about a preview of songs/album in the future?
Aimi: Peaky P-Key is famous for edgy music style and even our iconic signature pose is very sharp. (motions like a unicorn horn with hand). The visual resembles the b-girl style and that boosts the charismatic nature of each member of the unit. That’s easy to follow the visual style and the music. We currently only have 2 original songs but please stay tuned for more songs in the future.
Hinata Sato: Photon Maiden is going for a cool, cyber look. I think this unit is fitted with a cool, sexy and mature style. I believe that our performance explains the our theme without words. I hope to have more songs to show different aspects of our unit. So please look forward to it.
Do you have any message for your fans, especially when CharaExpo is the first event D4DJ details are announced globally?
Aimi: Thank you for coming to CharaExpo. I believe D4DJ has the content to be performed globally. So hopefully, we have more chances to perform in Japan and soon world wide. Hopefully we can return to the United States again.
Reo Kurachi: Thank you for coming to CharaExpo. Although D4DJ is a new project, I was happy to introduce it and so surprised many people came to our panel today. As Aimi said, D4DJ is a content that can be performed worldwide, so hopefully all 6 units can come to the US together for the next time.
Haruki Iwata: I am happy to come back to the US as a D4DJ Photon Maiden member. Photon Maiden has a lot of English lyrics so hopefully, we can grow the fanbase with that. Thank you so much.
Hinata Sato: This is my first time at CharaExpo here in Anaheim. The fans have been so nice to us and hopefully we can bring the entire Photon Maiden unit in the US again. Thank you.