QUEEN BEE’s Avu-chan ‘Mephisto’ and the Group’s Vision for its Global Future: Interview

“Mephisto”, the ending theme of QUEEN BEE’s hit anime [OSHI KO YOK], itself became a long-standing hit song. The video for “Mephisto” performed by “Avu-chi, the Idol from Hell” on THE FIRST TAKE YouTube channel reached 4.57 million views in less than a week.

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QUEEN BEE’s heart, vocalist responsible for the lyrics and music of “Mephisto”, Avu-chan spoke to Billboard Japan for the first time. In this extensive interview, [OSHI KO YOK] and “Mephisto” performing in a group, and the full-fledged debut of QUEEN BEE as a global group.

“Mephisto” is the ending theme of the anime. [OSHI KO YOK]and the song became quite a hit.

Avu-chan: I think the anime introduced a lot of people to “Mephisto” but more than that, I think there are people who have heard of QUEEN BEE before, and “Mephisto” reinforced what a great group we are to them. . It was great that Aka Akasaka and Mengo Yokoyari, who created the original manga, and the anime’s creators supported us in tackling the ending theme. It’s a strange feeling, as if they’ve noticed and approved of our approach to life.

The new song gave people the opportunity to see what a great group you are.

Avu-chan: Right. Just look how many people are listening to our music. We lit and continued to light the fire of QUEEN BEE, and now something bigger than us has given us this opportunity. But we will not go out, and we are not aiming to move towards a new goal by fanning these flames in new directions. We will not let ourselves be dragged along, we will just keep moving forward silently.

Without being anxious or restless.

Avu-chan: We knew we could achieve synergy by working together. [OSHI KO YOK]. We are very grateful for that. However, in the end we just want to do what we think is interesting – what we find great. This will be the path we will continue to follow in the future. All in all, I’m surprised that the brutally honest “Mephisto” has been so widely accepted. It’s not just about idols, it’s about any business. It’s about how we put our lives on the line for our work, once you start there’s no turning back. He tells these facts in vulgar, unadorned words. I don’t know what to say if people are having fun doing vocal covers and dance videos.

What are your impressions about it? [OSHI KO YOK]Which series aired the last episode?

Avu-chan: I think it’s great that the original creators of the comic are enjoying the anime adaptation, which has become a social phenomenon. But what [OSHI KO YOK] it really portrays, a serious message of social reform on the entertainment industry scene. It’s so ironic that it became an overseas hit, and people say, “Japan is so fascinating.” I think the saving grace is that the people who made it are filled with love and our own music is a part of that.

The creators’ love and passion for their work transforms the solemn message of social reform into a hopeful one.

Avu-chan: Right. There are people who, when talking about the entertainment industry, say, “Your job is to be on stage, so you just have to grin and bear it.” They want to treat the entertainment industry like it’s an anomaly. [OSHI KO YOK] “This is a story that interests everyone,” he directly challenges this idea. I think it complicates the audience. But there are many who do not see it as a war, which may be one reason for its popularity.

“Mephisto” is the name of a demon in German folklore and appears in Goethe’s drama. Faust. I heard a while ago that he developed the concept of the song.

Avu-chan: From the moment I decided on the draw, I thought the “Mephisto” theme would be a great match for the anime. I was sure the anime was going to be great and I was so sure that I cried with joy at being chosen to provide the ending theme. I got the motif from Goethe. Faustand I’ve been impressed by writers who have richly portrayed what people do and their passions – writers like Go Nagai that I’ve enjoyed since I was little, and Yukio Mishima and Shakespeare. I think these sensitivities lie at the heart of “Mephisto”.

So you express what people do and their passions through music.

Avu-chan: I feel the same kind of passion. [OSHI KO YOK] “Mephisto” was very appropriate, as I felt in the works of those authors. But the music drew on that passion more than any specific knowledge about anime, so I didn’t think many people would understand the purpose behind it.

If you look at how YOASOBI’s “Idol” expanded the anime world, it seems to me that “Mephisto” deepened it.

Avu-chan: Thanks for saying that. Taking context out of a work of art – that’s our specialty. YOASOBI and QUEEN BEE really turned it on! (laughs) I don’t think this would have happened if our musical styles weren’t so different.

I want to talk to you for a moment about the group as a whole. You performed two live shows in the US this April. Are you focused on building a full-fledged global presence?

Avu-chan: We didn’t think about that at first. I love Japanese and I always thought it was important to sing in Japanese, so starting everything from scratch, writing the lyrics in English – that was a decision I struggled with.

Sure, but the situation in the North American market is changing. To be successful, the lyrics had to be in English, but now it’s not that hard to compete even when singing in your native language.

Avu-chan: Right. When we played in America in the spring, I began to think that the passion and strength of the Japanese could serve as a passport. We performed in Seattle and Los Angeles and the venues went crazy when we put on the kind of show that QUEEN BEE usually does.

Even though there are a lot of people who don’t speak Japanese?

Avu-chan: Right. Another thing that those who praised the show mentioned was that the audience was people of all races. There were seniors and young children, and when I looked at how much fun everyone was having, I thought, “QUEEN BEE really needs to go international”. Of course, being successful in Japan is not an easy matter in itself. However, I am aware that I myself am a racial melting pot. In two shows, I got a sense of why I should perform to an overseas audience.

You want to be someone standing on stage surrounded by people of all races.

Avu-chan: I opened my heart for everyone to see. I think success overseas is still a big challenge, but I hope to create some chaos on a global scale.

Is there anything you would change in your globalization efforts?

Avu-chan: If I changed anything, people would notice right away. In our case, if you change yourself to gain popularity, then you’re left with nothing. We don’t want to use that kind of marketing approach.

Because that wouldn’t be right for the QUEEN BEE.

Avu-chan: I would like to think that we cannot do such things and that is one of our strengths.

I heard you already have plans for future overseas shows.

Avu-chan: Decisions about overseas shows are starting to be made, so I think we’ll be playing abroad more in the future.

You have plans to perform at festivals and events in Japan and held a performance hall tour, “Juni-jigen + 01” in November.

Avu-chan: We’ve decided how to present ourselves in our shows, so now we’re trying to internalize that on a physical level. There is still a lot we want to do and we are always thinking about what challenges we will take on next. I feel we need to keep updating ourselves, activating our own creative cycle, changing our skin. If we don’t, we will die. I wonder what kind of monster we will become at the end of this transformation.

Like QUEEN BEE’s own theory of evolution.

Avu-chan: The ultimate result of evolution is collapse, so what I’m talking about isn’t exactly evolution. What will happen at the end of this metabolism cycle? I won’t be making any specific predictions, but I’m looking forward to seeing how it all turns out.

I’m sure there are many people who are encouraged by the fact that QUEEN BEE refuses to settle for how things are and instead always takes on new challenges.

Avu-chan: Looking back, from two or three years ago until recently, there was no discussion about linked songs. But even then we were shooting our own music videos and focusing on QUEEN BEE in everything we did. I think it all came together to get us where we are today. Right now people are enjoying “Mephisto” but I don’t see it as the peak. Whatever the case, we will continue to be on stage – that’s what we decided to do.

This interview of Itsuki Mori was first published on Billboard Japan.

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