Current vocalist and guitarist of BAND-MAID, Miku Kobato, announced on April 1, 2021, that she would also be starting a solo project called cluppo. Her first release was the single “PEACE&LOVE”. cluppo’s “PEACE&LOVE/Flapping wings” will go on sale as a limited run single on Hato Day (August 10th). At the same time, the two-song set will be released worldwide.
We asked her why she decided to start making music as cluppo.
–– It’s been about 4 months since you announced that you were starting cluppo. What sort of response have you received?
cluppo: Well, since I made the announcement on April Fool’s Day, many people thought it wasn’t true at first. Soon after, when I announced that I would appear on a magazine cover, many people thought it was a big joke. But once the magazine went on sale, people finally believed me [laughs].
–– You were aiming for April 1st for your announcement, weren’t you?
cluppo: Of course. BAND-MAID always announced surprise projects for our masters and mistresses (what they call their fans) on April 1st.
Last year, April Fool’s Day was just before the state of emergency was announced, so we refrained from creating a project. When considering what to do for this year’s April Fool’s Day, one of the staff suggested the idea of me doing a solo project, to which I immediately replied “Let’s do it!” Instead of being BAND-MAID’s Miku Kobato, I became a new entity, cluppo, for this project.
–– Although the announcement was made on April Fool’s Day, it wasn’t a joke at all, was it?
cluppo: That’s right. Our previous surprise project was a one-day-per-year only limited band, but we actually did play music. For this year’s surprise project, cluppo, we decided to sell “PEACE&LOVE” online, but we didn’t decide from the beginning to sell a CD—we agreed to make decisions about the future of the project based on its reception. Of course, I wanted to continue with it, but we thought it would be difficult to do so if there wasn’t much demand. It was great that there were so many people who liked cluppo.
–– Did you have any doubts?
cluppo: I did. I was worried that people would say “why is Kobato going solo?” or that they wouldn’t accept the musical style, which is different from BAND-MAID. But when we released “PEACE&LOVE”, lots of people said it was a good song and that I should keep going, which encouraged to continue.
–– Your first release was “PEACE&LOVE”. Is that a theme you want to explore?
cluppo: While BAND-MAID’s goal is world domination, I wanted cluppo’s goal to be world peace. The reason I reversed “LOVE&PEACE” and wrote it as “PEACE&LOVE” was sort of a gimmick—the aim was to hook more people and make them wonder why.
With cluppo I want to explore the sides of myself which I can’t show on BAND-MAID. On BAND-MAID, I also sing songs as the lead vocalist, but I want to make it feel completely different from that.
–– How did you try to create that difference?
cluppo: BAND-MAID evokes a strong image of femininity among an aggressive sound which embraces darkness, but cluppo is the exact opposite—it has a bright feeling. It is the yang of the yin yang, and I wanted to give a strong image of overflowing light, so I wrote the songs and lyrics with that in mind.
–– That’s close to your usual character.
cluppo: That’s true. It’s something that only I can do. I’m trying to bring out something that I couldn’t on BAND-MAID.
–– Your new release, “Flapping wings”, turned out as a dance rock number that gives a sense of euphoria which isn’t expressed in BAND-MAID’s music.
cluppo: With cluppo, I’m trying to establish a new genre called HIPPIE-POPPO. “Flapping wings” brought me closer to that style. “PEACE&LOVE” did too, but in addition to brightness and fun, I want to expand cluppo’s range of expression by highlighting elements such as electronic music programming, which we don’t use with BAND-MAID. Of course, I want to add a wide range of musicality within the HIPPIE-POPPO style.
–– Exactly what kind of music if HIPPIE-POPPO?
cluppo: In the 60’s and 70’s, hippy music advocated LOVE&PEACE. They used world peace as a theme, which overlaps with the message cluppo is exploring, so I want to use musical elements which make people feel that aspect of the music.
–– The pleasantly uplifting feeling of “Flapping wings” is very similar to the euphoria found in hippy music, isn’t it.
cluppo: Thank you very much. I’m glad you were able to feel the similarities. While “PEACE&LOVE” is a song with a strong sense of fun and happiness, I was going for a pleasantly uplifting feeling with “Flapping wings”—I’m glad the message got across.
–– The melodies of “PEACE&LOVE” and “Flapping wings” may be different, but the fundamental message of world peace/love and peace is consistent throughout the lyrics.
cluppo: With cluppo I want to send the message of world peace, so both songs have that in common.
–– As an individual, are you always thinking about world peace?
cluppo: I think about it often. Whenever I see that kind of news on the TV or the internet I’m very interested in it because I’ve always been concerned with world peace.
In fact, although BAND-MAID’s motto is world domination, it shares a common idea of world peace. BAND-MAID is strong an aggressive, but we want to open people’s minds with our music and connect the hearts of everyone in the world together, which overlaps with world peace. So all of the band members, myself included, had the idea of world peace in mind. With cluppo, I brought out that idea more concretely and emphatically.
–– Originally you had a more pacifist personality, didn’t you?
cluppo: That’s true. BAND-MAID’s songs have a strongly confrontational vibe, but I prefer peace over aggression, whether in BAND-MAID or in cluppo.
–– BAND-MAID has fans scattered all over the world, with more fans in other countries than in Japan. What has cluppo’s reception been like among overseas fans?
cluppo: Just as in Japan, many of them were surprised, but they are all enjoying the music. Many of the global fans are very inquisitive, and some think that BAND-MAID guitarist KANAMI was involved behind the scenes with this song (“PEACE&LOVE”)—she wasn’t involved at all though [laughs]. I’m happy that they are so interested in my music—much more than I expected.
–– On BAND-MAID you wore a maid outfit, while on cluppo you wear very colorful clothes. That visual difference was also very impactful.
cluppo: BAND-MAID has a monochromatic image, so I worked out something which would give the exact opposite impression. I could walk around Harajuku with a crepe in my hand while wearing this outfit and I wouldn’t stand out… it’s a bit of a loud outfit but it would blend right in on the streets of Harajuku. If you like colorful clothing, please feel free to imitate it.
–– I think that many of our readers like the maid outfits worn by BAND-MAID.
cluppo: These days, the BAND-MAID outfit has evolved away from the maid uniform. It began with a maid uniform, and the other members and I continue to wear clothing which pays homage to the essence of that uniform. Personally, I like gothic lolita-type clothing.
Originally, we formed BAND-MAID because we wanted to make a band where we could wear our favorite maid outfits, so we essentially love maid uniforms and similar outfits. Vocalist SAIKI gives a strong regal impression and mostly wears outfits which are less maid-like, but our roots lie in wanting to be a band with maid uniforms.
–– BAND-MAID has many overseas fans who show their support by wearing similar outfits.
cluppo: Maid uniforms are a part of Japan’s modern kawaii culture. As a result, other countries may love that culture more than we do in Japan. When we perform live overseas, many girls and boys attend the service (=concert) wearing maid uniforms. Not only that, many of them are hand-made. Many overseas fans upload videos of themselves cosplaying on YouTube—I really appreciate that kind of support. Lots of overseas music (rock) fans actually become interested in Japanese culture after learning about BAND-MAID. I would be happy if cluppo could have the same kind of impact.
–– Is SAIKI also universally loved?
cluppo: Whether in Japan or other countries, there are many people who want SAIKI to walk all over them [laughs].
–– I’m sure women will want to copy cluppo’s fashion.
cluppo: I hope they do. For example, adding lace flowers to Dr. Martens boots or adding lots of pins in your hair creates a kawaii style. My hair has always been in pigtails since BAND-MAID started, but I add various decorations into my hair. My aesthetic during “Flapping wings” is to have half-pigtails with lots of ornamentation—I hope everyone can see the detail I put into it. I also decide on the image for each BAND-MAID member’s outfit in consultation with a designer. I can do whatever I want with cluppo’s fashion, so I hope you’ll keep an eye on it.
–– How has SAIKI reacted to cluppo?
cluppo: She’s very supportive of cluppo, always asking “What is cluppo going to do next?” But when I played “Flapping wings” for her and she heard lyrics like “zukkyun! bakkyun! dokkyun!”—words which we would absolutely never use with BAND-MAID—she laughed wryly [laughs]. “You put words like that into the song?” she asked, to which I replied, “I sure did!” [laughs]
–– That’s just the kind of person you are, isn’t it.
cluppo: That’s right. On BAND-MAID lyrics like that would certainly be rejected. With cluppo I’m able to use various words and expressions which wouldn’t fit well with BAND-MAID. However, I don’t use expressions simply because they aren’t a fit for BAND-MAID, but rather I use them naturally to create the world within the song and because they are suitable for cluppo.
–– On August 10th, which is your day, “PEACE&LOVE/Flapping wings” will be released worldwide. For a global band like BAND-MAID, it has become easy to send your music and ideas far and wide.
cluppo: Both BAND-MAID’s goal of world domination and cluppo’s goal of world peace were targeted at a global market from the beginning, so it’s great that we can reach people all over the world so easily. I sometimes marvel at how wonderful the world is.
–– Can you tell us again what makes your new song “Flapping wings” special?
cluppo: As with “PEACE&LOVE”, the lyrics deal with world peace, while the melody creates a different worldview from that song. I hope that people who hear the grand, majestic music will be uplifted by it. I also hope that overseas fans will enjoy Japan’s kawaii culture through cluppo as they do through BAND-MAID.
–– Thank you very much. Do you have any closing words?
cluppo: “PEACE&LOVE” and “Flapping wings” are songs which evoke my image of world peace. A limited run CD version is also going on sale. Please get the CD if you can. I’m sure you’ll be surprised. I will continue to express myself with cluppo in ways I can’t on BAND-MAID. Please look forward to new projects from both BAND-MAID and cluppo.
「PEACE&LOVE / Flapping wings」
Limited to 3900 copies, the CD will be released on August 10.
SCCA-00119 / JPY 1,000+TAX
A solo project by Miku Kobato, the creator of BAND-MAID.
A new music genre created titled “HIPPIE-POPPO”.
cluppo reinterprets the good old 70’s music in a lovely and peaceful way.