The band are Quminco Grape (vocals), Nagai Grape (guitar, songwriting), Matsui Grape (bass), Naho Grape (keyboard) and Taichi Grape (drums).
We crammed into their tour van when they were in Tokyo for a show last month to find out how they expect a UK audience to react, how cruel they are to new recruit Naho, and why Quminco’s mum hates to hear her swear.
Listen to episode #016 of the podcast to hear the interview and an exclusive live recording of their song Kiss Too Shy, or read the transcript below!
Thank you for joining us on the ICFJ podcast. You’re going to England in October, so first of all tell me why – why do you want to go to play in England?
Nagai: “It’s our dream to play in the UK, because I love British rock music since I was a child, like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who. And after that the new-wave movement, punk movement, The Clash, Sex Pistols, The Smiths. A gig in the UK is our dream. So dreams come true.”
And what do you think it’s going to be like to play in England?
Quminco: “I have never been to England. I’m too excited now, and I’m really nervous.”
Why are you nervous?
Quminco: “Mmmmm, we went to America; that tour was so great. But England, we have never (been there).”
Nagai: “We don’t know (England).”
What’s your image of British music venues?
Nagai: “I imagine English people are a little bit cool. How do you think?”
I totally agree with that statement 100%.
Nagai: “Because there are dark bands in the UK, many dark bands.”
But Budo Grape is not a dark band.
Nagai: “Yes. Not a dark band.”
How do you describe your sound?
Quminco: “Pop. Catchy.”
Nagai: “Catchy. Powerful. Energetic. Cute. And handsome!”
Taichi: “So smart.”
OK. So when you go to Britain you’re playing three shows. You’re going to Brighton, London and Manchester. What do you think it’s going to be like when you go on stage and play in front of a British audience? How do you think the British audience is going to react?
Matsui: “Dance. Dance.”
(Matsui dances in his seat)
Quminco: “I guess English fans will love us, because there are English fans (of Budo Grape) in Japan.”
You’ve been playing together for 11 years, and you come from Nagaoya – from Neo-Nagoya. Tell me what the music scene is like there.
Nagai: “Um… Number one band is Budo Grape, haha. Nagoya is maybe the third (biggest) metropolitan city – Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya. There is a small music scene, but there was a punk movement and a new-wave movement, and there are some great bands. And the best is Budo Grape.”
Naho, as the newest member of the band, what was it like to join a band that was already together for about 10 years before you joined?
Quminco: “She was (originally) a bassist.”
Naho: “Mmm, I was a bassist, and this band was my first time to play keyboard. (It was) very difficult, and very exciting. Very hard days.”
The other members already knew each other for a long time, right? And you were new to the band.
Nagai: “Yeah, but I knew her well.”
They didn’t tease you or weren’t mean to you, right?
Naho: “Mmmmm… hmmm hmmm hmmm… Hahahaha!”
That’s a yes, isn’t it? Wow.
Naho: “Well, yes, but…”
Nagai: “Yes and no!”
Not too bad?
Nagai: “Not too bad.”
Quminco: “We are like a family, but she is…”
Nagai: “Slave. She’s a slave.”
Naho: “Oh! Is that how it is?”
Nagai: “She always forgets something. We have (matching) costumes, the same shirts. But she always forgets (to bring) that.”
So what happens if she forgets?
Naho: “I go back home.”
Nagai: “She goes back home and brings it back.”
When I was a kid at school, if we forgot to bring our shorts for football or whatever, we had to do it in our pants. You don’t make her play in her pants, right?
Nagai: “Oh yes, that’s a good idea.”
Quminco: “Next time!”
When you play shows in Nagoya, do your parents ever come?
Quminco: “My mother comes to our live shows. My mother loves our music, but she hates Fun Yon Tan, our duelling song.”
Nagai: “Our dirty song.”
A dirty song?
Nagai: “Fun Yon Tan.”
Explain what that means.
Quminco and Nagai: “Crap, piss, spit.”
Nagai: “We played that song in the USA and the American audience called, ‘Crap! Piss!’ That was great.”
So when you play that song in front of your parents, how do you feel?
Quminco: “I don’t care! Enjoy!”
So is there anything that you want to say to the people listening to the podcast to entice them to come to your shows?
Nagai: “Please come to see us.”
Why should they come?
Naho: “Quminco is very cute. Very cute girl.”
Quminco: “Thank yooou! Naho is very cute.”
Quminco: “A little bit.”
Interview by Daniel Robson