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Anime Expo 2007

by Jonathan Mays,
Sony's Yaz Noya opened the ORESKABAND focus panel by asking the crowd of about 100, “Do you want to see the promo video or the band?” The answer was obvious: “Both!”

The 2-minute video showed the band practicing and performing across Japan. Noya then introduced the band one by one: Ikasu, Tei-san, Leader, Saki, Moriko, and Tomi.

-Hi! I'm Ikasu. Say 'Ikasu!' I play guitar and compose all of the songs.
-Hi! I'm Tai. I play the drums. Nice to meet you.
-Hi, what's up? My name is Leader. I play the trombone. Nice to meet you. I'm glad to see you!
-Hi, my name is Saki. I love Japanese anime. I love One Piece. You too?
-Hi! I'm Moriko. I play the sax. Thank you for coming today.
-Hi. I'm Tomi. I play the bass and vocals. Nice to meet you.

Noya then asked everyone if they'd heard of ORESKABAND. More than half of crowd raised their hands. “How did you hear about them?” The consensus was Bleach and YouTube, the latter of which earned a cheer from the band. Asked whether they knew the songs or the band, the consensus was “songs.”

Noya: So now you'll learn about the band.
Ikasu: We met in middle school. And then I said: Let's start band!
Noya: They just graduated from high school this March. [applause]
Tae-san: Can I speak Japanese? Ikasu, Leader, and I had cram school. On the way back home, we decided to start a band. Since Leader already played trombone, I said, 'Okay, let's do a ska band.'”
Saki: As we formed the band, we decided to make an indie album. We burned a CD-R called Pimple with 3 songs and sold it for $3. Now we've released Punch Party, a compilation alnum. Before we signed with Sony, we put out 2 CDs by ourselves.
After that, Sony Music found us. We released a mini-album, “Ore”, last year.

We debuted last year with Sony Music. Before we came her and before we go onto our serious music tour in Japan, we went to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Texas for the South by Southwest convention. This is the second time that we're here in the US.
Moriko: We're returning in August for the Warped Tour.

Noya signaled for one of the band's music videos, Pinocchio.

N: Let's talk about the promotional video. How did you make it?
S: Yamatagawa River—by they way, we're from Sakai City, Osaka.
S: It's the second dirtiest river--
Tei-san: it's the second music video that we shot. There was a huge crane camera over us as we shot.

Leader: We shot it at the second dirtiest river in Japan because we're proud of where we're from. We wanted to be shown in our hometown and wanted to introduce our town to the world.

Someone in the audience shouts: Who's the old guy in the video?
Tei-san: He's an actor.
I: We didn't know him until we shot the video, but now he's a regular.
Tei-san: Our video is presenting to all ages.

Noya then officially opened the Q&A section. Nobody moved.
“Come on, guys!”

After a few seconds, several fans walked to the microphone.

“Where is warped tour?”
N: Pick up the flyer on the way out.

"What are your favorite anime?"
S: One Piece!
L: Slam Dunk!
S: One Piece!
I: Shut up!

I: Howl's castle.
Tomi: I don't know anime [in English] but sometimes I watch it.

Favorite bands in US or America:
S: Slipnot.
L: Tsukunashi--you should remember it!
I: I like Mr. Big.

"You're very pretty."
S: [in English] Tell me something I don't know.

Most interesting live experience so far:
T: In America? When we play a show in America, the audience purely enjoys our music and gives us energy.

I: We followed the Specials' Two-Tone pattern at first.

Ska dancing:
S: We do go to a lot of live houses, and we dance there.

If they could summon monsters with their music:

"What does ORESKABAND stand for?"
L: [unintelligible] There is no meaning.

"Why did you decide to be a ska band?"
L: It's very simple. When I talked about it with Ikasu and Tei-san, and I played the trombone, we knew it had to be ska.

"What do you do when you're not on tour?"
I: I read books.
S: I watch One Piece.
L: I sleep.

"Are you available?"
Tomi: No, thank you.

Favorite movies:
I: Blues Brothers.
L: School of Rock.
N: Pirates of the Caribbean 3.
S: One Piece.
N: High School Musical.

"What do your names mean?"
-Ikasu means cool. Tei-san gave me the name Ikasu.
-I don't know when they started to call me Tei-san.
-When we get together and Leader said to Tei-san, “We should have a leader.” Tei-san,
-Saki is my real name.
-Moriko: last name is omori…mori…Moriko
-Hitomi is my real name, so Tomi.

"Tomi, what kind of bass do you play, and who's your favorite bassist?"
T: Fender right now, and before that ESP Japan. I don't have a particular favorite, but I like
Marcus Miller and Earth, Wind, and Fire.

"Tell us about your upcoming movie."
S: Actually, it's still secret.
N: I'll leak a bit of it. We're going to shoot with the producer of High School Musical. He's going to make an Oreskaband musical movie. They're making the songs right now. Don't leak this to MySpace or YouTube.

"When did you start to play your instruments?"
I: When I was in middle school and Tai-san said I'll play drums. So I said okay, I'll play guitar.
Tei-san: I've played drums since sixth grade. I used to play percussion with the drum band, but I didn't like the other stuff, so I went to drum school.
L: When I was in middle school, I was in the brass band. My first choice was sax, but I couldn't get it. Trombone was my third choice. I really didn't like it at first, but right now if I'm playing in front of the audience, I think, “Okay, I can do this.”
S: I've played trumpet since I was in forth grade. I wanted to play clarinet. But people said the shape of my teeth was good for trumpet.
M: I started to play sax when I was in middle school. When I saw a sax player on TV, I said, 'that's it, I have to play.” I was also in brass band in middle school.
Tomi: When I joined, nobody in the band played bass, so I had to play it. But now I really enjoy it.

"What do you think of the One Piece dub?"
S: I don't know the translation. But I bought the manga in English. It's very interesting. Gomu gomu: robber, robber. But they translated it differently.

"If you had a power, what would it be and why?"
T: Super Saiyajin!
S: Alvida from One Piece.
M: I'd want to have Harry Potter's powers.

N: Please give a final message.
I: This is our second time in the US, and I love America. The people here are very friendly. I'm looking forward to seeing you at the live show tomorrow.
T: [in English] You should come to our live show. See you tomorrow.
L: Thank you very much for coming. I didn't expect so many people. I've talked a lot, but I seem not to have expressed myself fully enough, so you better come tomorrow.
S: Thank you very much for coming. Come and see us tomorrow. I'm the biggest fan of One Piece!
M: [in English] Thank you for coming today. This year we debuted in America and released a CD. So please support us now and for the Warped Tour.
T: Thank you for coming. Please come to your live show. Let's have fun together!

As the panel began to wind down, the band members found creative ways to give away free t-shirts.

S: Who likes… Buggy? Come and get the t-shirt!
M: Who's 18? Liar!
Tei-san: Who knew us before today? Are you sure? What's the mascot's name?
I: Who's paid the most money for cosplay?
S: Who has blood type AB and was born in November?
L: Can you do a summersault?

Noya reminded the audience of the concert on Sunday at noon, the upcoming ORESKABAND CD (this summer in the US), and the band's blog. The panel wrapped with another music video called “Almond.”

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